Mesh implant women told excruciating procedure was 'miracle cure'

The medical device was given to thousands of women in Scotland over the past twenty years.

Mesh implant women told excruciating procedure was ‘miracle cure’, report finds PA Media

Women who had vaginal mesh surgery were not always given accurate information about the procedure before their operations, a review has found.

Surgery to implant mesh – used to treat problems such as vaginal prolapse and urinary incontinence – was described to the women as the “gold standard” and a “miracle cure”, the report found.

The medical device was given to thousands of women in Scotland over the past twenty years, to help treat urinary or pelvic problems.

However, the procedure was suspended five years ago after it emerged some women were suffering from excruciating pain.

The new report, commissioned by the Scottish Government, saw professor Alison Britton examine the cases of 18 women who underwent the procedure.

The Glasgow Caledonian University expert in healthcare and medical law reviewed more than 40,000 pages of medical records and interviewed the women.

Early information given to women was “largely informed and written by the industry that created the device”, the report said, adding that mesh was “described using only positive language”.

Professor Britton said: “Every patient is entitled to expect and receive accurate information both before any treatment is chosen and to be advised on the effectiveness and consequences of any intervention.

“Most of the cases that we reviewed did not meet these standards.”

She stated: “If clear and commonly understood language had been used to explain to women potential treatments and outcomes, even if these were uncertain prior to surgery, this may have alleviated many of the issues that subsequently arose over the course of their clinical journey.”

She added that in a number of the cases examined, there had been a “lack of clarity in the case records documenting the nature and potential outcome of mesh revision surgery”.

“Some notes were misleading, but other cases, did not bear any reflection to the surgery that had occurred, nor its outcomes,” professor Britton said.

“These matters may have not come to light without the commissioning of the review.”

The report, published on Tuesday, made a series of 21 recommendations – including that Scotland set up a record of mesh surgery that was carried out both here and in others parts of the UK and overseas.

Women’s health minister Jenni Minto said the Scottish Government was now considering the recommendations.

She said: “We are determined to do everything in our power to help those whose lives have been impacted by mesh complications and to ensure they get the right treatment for them.

“We will continue to work closely with colleagues within the NHS to ensure that women can access the care that they need and are fully supported by their GP and other clinicians.

“It is so important that everyone has access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their care. We want to ensure that satisfaction levels of women attending the NHS specialist service in Glasgow continue to grow and waiting times continue to fall.”

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