A dedicated fund for women who shelled out thousands to have mesh implants surgically removed has opened for applications.
The Transvaginal Mesh Removal Reimbursement Scheme will grant patients who paid for private procedures to end debilitating pain caused by the implants the right to claim the money back.
A ban on the surgery came into force in Scotland four years ago after a number of patients reported they were suffering from excruciating and life-changing side effects.
In June last year, the Scottish Government confirmed it would reimburse the cost of private surgery for women – which can be anywhere between £16,000 and £23,000 – who have already had mesh implants removed.
Patients wishing to undergo treatment funded by the NHS will be seen through the Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – but can opt for the procedure to take place elsewhere in the UK.
Spire healthcare in Bristol has already agreed to accept referrals from Scottish NHS boards, while discussions with surgeons in the United States are underway.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The opening of the scheme is a significant milestone enabling women to claim back the money they felt they had to use to get their treatment.
“Women who require mesh removal surgery are now also able to ask to be referred to a specialist NHS centre in England or to an independent provider. These options are being offered in conjunction with the service already provided in NHS Scotland and all options will be provided free of charge to the patient.
“I encourage anyone who wishes referral to one of these services to make their wishes known to their clinical team, if they have not already done so.”
The existing mesh fund, set up by the Scottish Government, closed to applications on May 31.
Anyone eligible to apply and who previously received a payment from the fund will not be excluded from applying for reimbursement under the scheme and any previous payment will not be deducted.
The Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Act 2022 came fully into force earlier this month.