Report Makes Series Of Recommendations After Finding Thousands Suffered ‘Avoidable Harm’
Specialist lawyers representing women who have endured debilitating health problems after being fitted with mesh implants have welcomed a report investigating the procedures.
The long-awaited Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review has published its findings into the use of mesh in surgery, including in gynaecological procedures.
The review, which also looked into the use of pregnancy test Primodos and epilepsy drug sodium valproate, concluded that thousands had come to “avoidable harm” and their concerns were “dismissed and overlooked”, the Press Association reports.
Baroness Julia Cumberlege, chair of the review said women’s lives had been turned “upside down” by surgical mesh.
The review also found that the healthcare system had a “glacial” and “defensive” response when patients raised concerns over treatments.
Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell act for a number of women affected by issues with mesh implants, including more than 50 who underwent unnecessary mesh procedures performed by colorectal surgeon Dr Tony Dixon at hospitals in the Bristol area.
Expert Opinion“A huge amount of inconsistent and contradictory information about mesh has been provided to patients over a period of many years, creating confusion for many women who have meanwhile had to cope with long-term, irreversible and debilitating medical conditions.
“This review has looked very carefully at many of the issues surrounding the use of mesh in medical procedures and we welcome the many practical recommendations made which, if implemented, should not only assist those already affected, but provide far better safety parameters going forward.
“It does however still leave unanswered questions for many women who have already undergone mesh procedures implants and we will continue to work with them in order to find the answers.
“While medical innovation is welcomed, the review made it clear that comprehensive pre and post marketing testing processes for new advances should not be compromised at the cost of patient safety.
“We are continuing to support women to establish answers to their concerns.
“It’s now vital that prompt action is taken to implement the review’s recommendations and uphold public confidence in the healthcare system.” Sallie Booth - Partner
They have welcomed the findings of the report and urged that the review’s recommendations are implemented as soon as possible to uphold public confidence in the health system.
The report contained a number of recommendations including that the Government should apologise on behalf of the healthcare system to affected families. It should also set up a taskforce and establish a timeline to implement the findings.
Other recommendations include:
• Setting up a network of specialist centres to provide treatment, care and advice for those affected by mesh implants.
• The creation of a central database recording all procedures where medical implants were installed so that the effectiveness and safety of devices can be monitored.
• Transparency of payments made to clinicians needs to improve. The General Medical Council register should be expanded to include a list of financial and non-financial interests for all doctors. This should include doctors’ particular clinical interests and their recognised and accredited specialisms.
• There should be mandatory reporting for pharmaceutical and medical device industries of payments made to teaching hospitals, research institutions and individual clinicians.
• The appointment of an independent Patient Safety Commissioner who would have legal powers to seek improvements in patient safety around the use of medicines and medical devices.