Health Boards In Scotland Asked To Suspend Use Of Mesh Implants

Call For Action On Issue From Scottish Health Secretary

04.07.2014

Scottish health secretary Alex Neil has asked the Acting Chief Medical Officer to write to all health boards asking them to consider the suspension of the use of mesh implants on the NHS in Scotland.

In an address to the Public Petitions Committee at the Scottish Parliament, he added that an independent review was to be established in relation to the use of the devices – with findings expected to be reported at the start of next year.

The news came as the committee was considering a petition made on behalf of Scottish Mesh Survivors and its Hear Our Voice Campaign, which is raising awareness of the complications linked to such devices.

The implants are used by surgeons on patients affected by issues such as incontinence following childbirth, with problems reported including severe abdominal pain and bleeding.

Mr Neil said: “I do not have authority to withdraw these products but I have asked the CMO to write to all Health Boards to consider the suspension of these services until further evidence becomes available early next year.

“Where individual women and their clinicians agree on the need for a particular service this will still be available.”

Sallie Booth, a medical device specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: "Very serious concerns have been raised regarding mesh implants for some time, so it is welcome to see steps taken to suspend their use while a proper, comprehensive review is held into the issue. However, we would urge authorities to follow the lead of the Scottish Government and ensure the use of the products is suspended across the entire UK while the safety issues are investigated.

“We see a number of cases when people have suffered serious injuries or complications as a result of problems with medical devices, so the huge effect this can have on patients should never be underestimated.

“It is vital that everything can be done to put the safety of patients first in all cases.”