Toughen up guidelines or the mesh scandal will repeat itself, warn campaigners, whose survey shows one in 20 women have attempted suicide

PUBLISHED: 14:31 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:10 19 March 2019

Sling The Mesh survey reveals half of women with mesh implant injuries have had suicidal thoughts. A third say their children have become their carers. Picture: PEXELS

Sling The Mesh survey reveals half of women with mesh implant injuries have had suicidal thoughts. A third say their children have become their carers. Picture: PEXELS

Archant

A third of mothers with mesh implant complications rely on their children to care for them and nearly half have suicidal thoughts, according to a survey into an operation routinely given on the NHS for 20 years.

Sling The Mesh survey reveals half of women with mesh implant injuries have had suicidal thoughts. Image shows a TVT mesh slling tape used to treat incontinence. hTis operation was suspended in the UK in July 2018.. Picture: Kath SansomSling The Mesh survey reveals half of women with mesh implant injuries have had suicidal thoughts. Image shows a TVT mesh slling tape used to treat incontinence. hTis operation was suspended in the UK in July 2018.. Picture: Kath Sansom

The survey shows that one in 20 have tried to take their life and one in 20 self harm on a regular basis.

Jackie Harvey, of Sling The Mesh, which conducted the survey, said: “These results show that mesh implant complications are severe, life changing and impact women and their families.

“Nobody should go for an operation that is supposed to help yet come out so badly harmed they no longer want to live.”

Around 95 per cent of women no longer trust their implanting surgeon to give the best advice, the survey shows, while nine out of ten no longer trust the medical profession in general.

A total of 653 people took part in the survey to reveal their pain from a mesh implant, to treat incontinence or prolapse, is so bad that almost eight out of ten struggle with depression and anxiety.

A third suffer panic attacks.

The results come two weeks before a panel of experts from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, NICE, release new guidelines on how to treat women suffering incontinence and prolapse.

Jackie said: “If the new NICE guidelines are not tough enough then the mesh scandal will carry on like revolving door medicine, where women keep going in and out of hospital or GP surgeries looking for a fix.

“Mesh problems are costing the Government a fortune.”

The survey shows that nine out of ten women were not told they were having a piece of plastic permanently implanted into their bodies and 98 per cent were not given information about the alternatives, like traditional non mesh surgery or physiotherapy.

One in five women suffer urinary infections so often they are becoming antibiotic resistant, while eight out of ten suffer high pain levels on a daily basis.

One in six women (15.6 per cent) had their operation privately, yet the private sector has no record of operation outcomes, which means mesh risk figures quoted by the Government are lower than the true scale of suffering.

Jackie said: “There is a huge black hole in the statistics.”

• The survey also captured the suffering of 47 women and 22 men with hernia mesh.

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