Senior Tory peer is shocked at the suffering in the mesh implant scandal

Baroness Cumberlge talks to BBC Newsline in Belfast in an interview with Marie Louise Connolly

Baroness Cumberlge talks to BBC Newsline in Belfast in an interview with Marie Louise Connolly - Credit: Archant

The scale of suffering in the mesh implant scandal has been called shocking by the woman who has spent six months touring the UK to speak to people affected.

Baroness Julia Cumberlege, who has visited 13 cities, including Cambridge, Oxford and Manchester, has spoken to hundreds of families across the UK, since suspending mesh in July.

Her findings are due to be published in April 2019.

In an interview with BBC Newsline in Belfast this week, she said: “I’ve been really shocked by the awful suffering that families are having.

“Of course, especially the woman, but it’s much beyond that.

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“We have heard about relationships that have broken down, we’ve heard about the huge pain that women are suffering, how they’ve had to give up their jobs, lost employment and then they haven’t been able to pay the mortgage.”

The meetings have seen women arriving using walking aids, some in mobility scooters, others with bladders or bowels removed where mesh has sliced into them.

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Baroness Cumberlege has praised women for having the courage to come forward to tell of their suffering.

She said: “Talking at-length about the personal impact of these interventions is traumatic.

“We have been struck by the bravery and selflessness of the men, women and young people who have contacted the Review.

“That is not to say that we do not continue to be saddened, shocked and overcome by much of what we read and hear.

“The volume of evidence received is overwhelming.

“During our travels we have met hundreds of affected individuals, but we are aware that there are others who have been too ill to travel.

“None of this would have been possible without the help of patient groups and associations, whose depth of knowledge and advice we have greatly appreciated.”

When 2018 draws to a close the Baroness will have visited 14 cities, with Exeter women yet to tell their stories on December 13.

In 2019 she will make a second visit to Glasgow, arranged because her first visit was so overwhelmed, the review team were unable to speak to everyone who turned up.

The team will also visit Bristol in January.

• Our Sling The Mesh campaign began in 2015 with 20 members. It now has almost 7,200 from around the world.

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