The idea that only prolapse mesh causes problems is 'utter nonsense' say campaigners as they take their fight to the House of Lords
PUBLISHED: 20:46 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 21:03 07 February 2018
A plea has gone to the Government to suspend pelvic mesh implants until the true number of women suffering is known.
Lord Phillip Hunt sent out the plea during a House of Lords question time, joined by around 40 members of campaign group Sling The Mesh.
The support group has grown from 900 to 5,400 in the last year with new members assured by clinicians they were just unlucky mystery patients.
The House of Lords question comes amid a growing backlash against surgeons who say it is only prolapse mesh causing problems and the mesh tape for incontinence is an effective treatment.
A spokesman for Sling The Mesh, said: “A third of our members have prolapse mesh and two thirds incontinence mesh implants. The complications are exactly the same stories with the same personal tragedies.
“This notion that it is only prolapse mesh causing problems is utter nonsense. Surgeons need to listen to patient experience.”
Lord Hunt said: “An increasing number of women have reported suffering complications that include debilitating pain, infection, inflammation, the loss of sex life and mobility issues.”
He called for the controversial implants to be suspended on the precautionary principle until a Government audit is complete and new guidelines are issued by NICE.
Lord James O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department of Health, said: “I know t a lot of women are suffering as a result of complications from this procedure.
“I am aware that Australia and New Zealand are implementing bans for particular usage. I have asked NICE and MHRA to investigate why they have done that and to report to me urgently so that I can see the grounds for the ban.
“We have different regulatory systems, but I want to know what is happening there.
“For some women it can be positive and life-enhancing. But we also know that it carries a risk of complications.”
Lord Patel said: “The evidence suggests that of the 20 per cent of women who suffer from complications, most of them had been treated for pelvic floor prolapse, not stress incontinence.
“Banning their use completely at this stage for women with certain conditions who may benefit from them would, without further evidence, be completely wrong.”
Baroness Tonge opened herself up to a barrage of criticism from campaigners after she said: “Does the minister share with me a sense of puzzlement that this subject was brought to the House in the first place? I find it very odd given that we have royal colleges and NICE with people to assess the efficacy of particular treatments. Many treatments, both medical and surgical, carry a risk of complications. Are they all going to be brought to the House of Lords for discussion?”
Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “Our job in this House is to scrutinise the decisions that are made in our publicly funded health services. I think that it is absolutely right that we do scrutinise these issues and make sure that the care being provided in this country adheres to the highest and safest standards.”
• The House of Lords question fell on the 100th anniversary of when women first got the right to vote on February 6, 1918. Around 40 members of Sling The Mesh held a rally in front of the statue of Winston Churchill before joining the peers from the public gallery. Two campaigners came in mobility scooters. Both were previously fit and healthy mums. One is now disabled from an incontinence mesh, the other from a hysteropexy prolapse mesh.