Following months of campaigning on surgical mesh, Emma Hardy, the MP for Hull West and Hessle, has welcomed the announcement today of a review into the safety of medicines and medical devices.
Emma has, however, expressed concern over a number of issues with the review:
· First, more support for victims needs to be offered. Emma raised the case of her constituent Angie who has been referred from Hull to Manchester for treatment and will now have to wait months before receiving treatment. Support and more resources need to be made available while the review goes ahead.
· Second, the licencing process needs to be looked into for which products are and are not allowed to be placed on the market. If necessary, the current equivalence model needs to be reviewed.
· Third, the review must look not just at the training given in fitting the surgical mesh but the quality of the mesh itself.
During today’s PMQs, the Prime Minister announced a medical device safety review, which will investigate issues related to the reporting of problems with mesh, primodos and sodium valproate. The review will be undertaken over a period of up to nine months.
The Prime Minister cited the surgical mesh scandal as an example where the handling of issues relating to medical devices has been inadequate.
In a statement this afternoon, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the introduction of a prospective registry of mesh procedures for prolapse and incontinence in women.
The review will be chaired by Baroness Cumberlege and will concern the following four areas:
· The balance around the criteria or threshold for a ‘legitimate concern’ in launching a statutory public enquiry.
· The best way to support patients where that threshold is not met.
· The best way to represent patient experience.
· Whether a new entity is needed and how that will interact with existing regulatory bodies.
Mesh surgery is a medical procedure used to treat incontinence and prolapse in women, often as a result of childbirth. An increasing number of women have reported suffering from complications after mesh surgery including debilitating pain, infection, inflammation, loss of sex life and mobility issues.
In response to complications related to mesh, New Zealand recently banned its use to treat incontinence and prolapse and Australia has banned mesh for the treatment of prolapse.
Emma lead a debate on surgical mesh Implants in Westminster Hall on 18th October 2017.
Commenting on the statement today, Emma said “After months of campaigning and pressure put on the government, I welcome the announcement today that, along with a review, the government will be putting £1.1 million into developing a comprehensive database for vaginal mesh treatment. I was also pleased that the Secretary of State’s indicated, in response to my question, that he will look into the licencing issues surrounding mesh.
“But while this is definitely good news, we should always remember that there are real people at the centre of this scandal. These women have been injured by surgical mesh and need treatment now. They can’t afford to wait 9 months while this enquiry runs its course and the government needs to make more resources available to support them now. I’ll be continuing to push the government all the way through this review to make sure the interests of the patients are put front and centre.”