New law to reimburse women for private mesh removal surgery

Health secretary Humza Yousaf has spoken about the 'serious distress' that mesh implant surgery has caused.

New law to reimburse women for private mesh removal surgery PA Media
It was announced last July that a specialist Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service was being set up as part of NHS Scotland.

The Scottish Government is bringing forward new legislation to allow women who have paid to have vaginal mesh removed privately to get their money back.

It comes as health secretary Humza Yousaf spoke about the “serious distress” that controversial mesh implant surgery has caused, as he said some women had been “let down by the NHS”.

The NHS in Scotland has had a moratorium in place which prevents mesh implant surgery since 2018, but some women have used their own cash to fund its removal after being left with painful and debilitating complications.

These operations cost between £16,000 and £23,000, and the Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill proposes a scheme to reimburse those who have paid for private treatment.

The Scottish Government is also working on a procurement process to “allow appropriately qualified surgeons” from outside the NHS to bid to perform removal for patients in Scotland.

This work is already under way and should be completed shortly, ministers said.

It was announced last July that a specialist Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service was being set up as part of NHS Scotland, with the Scottish Government committing more than £1.3m to it.

Speaking about the proposed new law, Yousaf said: “I absolutely recognise the serious distress that may have led women to using their own funds to seek mesh removal surgery privately.

“This legislation aims to help those who have undergone private treatment by allowing these past costs to be refunded.

“We recognise that some women have been let down by the NHS when they presented with complications and that is simply unacceptable.

“We are working to build confidence in our Scottish services and the various projects under way, including the case record review and our work with the Health and Social Care Alliance, will support this.

“Nonetheless, alternative options will be available to those who feel unable to be treated in Scotland, achieving the ultimate objective of ensuring all people get the treatment and care that they need.”