Surgeon withdraws offer to help women injured by mesh surgery

Dr Dionysios Veronikis had offered to travel to Scotland from the US to perform the complex mesh removal operations.

Surgeon withdraws offer to help women injured by mesh surgery Pixabay
Surgery: A Missouri-based surgeon has withdrawn an offer to help after becoming 'exasperated' by the Scottish Government.

A Missouri-based surgeon has withdrawn an offer to help Scottish women left suffering after vaginal mesh surgery for a “second and final time” after becoming “exasperated” by the Scottish Government.

Dr Dionysios Veronikis had previously offered to travel to Scotland from the US to perform complex mesh removal operations on women.

But in a letter to health secretary Jeanne Freeman, he said this has now been “permanently withdrawn” as he claimed his “goodwill has been abused”.

Dr Veronikis said he had previously withdrawn an offer to travel to Scotland but had been “given assurances by the First Minister of Scotland and I came back on board with the project”.

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But he added: “Regretfully, promises made to me by the appointed officials were not delivered.

“This was the reason why I withdrew my offer for a second and final time.

“All past cooperation has collapsed. It is over. My goodwill is exasperated.

“I am certain that my 200-plus hours invested in these negotiations would have been better spent operating on 20 mesh-injured women.”

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The surgeon said former chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood had previously committed to arrange the necessary sponsorship with the General Medical Council to allow him to operate in Scotland.

He said a U-turn on this sent a “clear message to me that neither CMO Calderwood nor the clinicians were committed to this project”.

Dr Veronikis told Freeman: “I am surprised that under your direction and that of the First Minister that such non-action was permitted.

“My original offer to come to Scotland to help the mesh-injured women is the only offer that ever existed.

“This offer, the offer that I extended, remains permanently withdrawn.

“From my perspective, I have been extremely cooperative and my goodwill has been abused.”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who has spoken out on behalf of the women left in pain after vaginal mesh surgeries, branded the letter a “damning indictment of the failure of the Scottish Government to do right by mesh-injured women”.

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Findlay said: “Despite Dr Veronikis’ generous offer, no assistance was given by the Scottish Government to facilitate his visit to Scotland.

“The health secretary and the First Minister owe an apology to the mesh-injured women of Scotland whose agony has been prolonged due to the incompetence, pride and intransigence of the SNP government.”

In July, Freeman announced the NHS is to set up a specialist service to perform mesh removal operations on those women who have been left suffering after surgery.

The Scottish Government will provide more than £1.3m to support the new Complex Mesh Removal Surgical Service in 2020-21, she added.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said NHS Scotland had offered the opportunity of a contract to Dr Veronikis in February, subject to “detailed discussions”.

She added: “The international recruitment team at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde also wrote to Dr Veronikis in March.

“Unfortunately Dr Veronikis has not felt able to do this without first having a contract in place and has withdrawn his offer to come to Scotland.

“This is deeply disappointing.

“The Scottish Government is clear that any woman who has suffered pain and life-changing complications caused by mesh implants should have access to the best possible care.”