‘The worst medical issue’ I’ve seen says MP supporting women’s health campaign

PUBLISHED: 09:20 19 January 2016 | UPDATED: 16:29 27 January 2016

Sling The Mesh logo

Sling The Mesh logo

Archant

A women’s health campaign that has been running for just seven months reached Parliament when it was discussed at a summit in Westminster.

Sling The Mesh campaign Sling The Mesh campaign

Ten action points were outlined as part of a pledge to look at problems with an NHS operation given to support weakened pelvic floor muscles, often caused by childbirth.

For some women the mesh sling operation leaves them in life-altering crippling pain which cannot be fixed.

Reporter Kath Sansom launched Sling the Mesh after having the operation last year and going from a super fit mum to taking a daily cocktail of painkillers to cope.

She said: “All mesh can cause a raft of health problems like allergic reactions and chronic pain but one version of this operation is particularly harmful.

Owen Smith MP, Welsh Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, is supporting Sling the Mesh. He says it is the worst medical issue he has seen. Owen Smith MP, Welsh Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, is supporting Sling the Mesh. He says it is the worst medical issue he has seen.

“That version is called a TVTO which I want to see stopped to prevent women suffering so badly.”

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay spearheaded the Parliamentary meeting. He said: “This is not about party politics this is about getting the right care for women.

“Kath deserves huge credit for the work she has done to raise awareness of the risks involved when vaginal mesh implants go wrong, and following my meeting with Professor Willet in the summer at the House of Commons it was great this time to have the benefit of Kath’s input and first hand experience.

“A number of actions were identified to better raise awareness, make it easier for women to report problems and improve the data collection of these reports.

MP Steve Barclay is supporting the Sling The Mesh campaign MP Steve Barclay is supporting the Sling The Mesh campaign

“There is still much more to do to ensure women are aware of the risks of these implants, but is welcome that the NHS now recognises the seriousness of the problem and that it is taking steps to improve surgical procedures and patient information.”

Owen Smith, Labour MP for Pontypridd and Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who joined the summit, said: “In six years this is the worst medical issue I have come across.

“To hear of my constituent’s suffering and terrible pain because of an operation that was supposed to help is awful.”

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, minister for women and equalities, who is among 20 MPs supporting Sling the Mesh, said: “The impact of mesh surgery to treat stress urinary incontinence has caused serious unintended medical problems for many women throughout the UK.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting Sling the Mesh Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is supporting Sling the Mesh

“That is why I am working alongside other MPs to see how we can tackle this complex issue and ensure that women who have suffered from complications associated with mesh surgery are listened to and supported.”

Issues discussed included:

• Discussing the risks of TVTO and Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) mesh. The latter has just been raised to a high class risk device in America.

• Better information on the NHS website about mesh risks

Reporter Kath Sansom of Slling The Mesh  Picture: HELEN DRAKE Reporter Kath Sansom of Slling The Mesh Picture: HELEN DRAKE

• National Register to track the true number of women with mesh implant problems - figures currently rely on women reporting it themselves.

• Possibility of upping the device to a higher risk category so it needs stricter testing before being given a CE mark

• Why Scotland has raised concerns for the TVTO and another mesh procedure called POP, yet in England the same concerns have not been expressed - despite six of the same people sitting on both the English and Scottish mesh working groups.

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