Health watchdog NICE has recently announced that vaginal mesh implants could once again be offered on the NHS, provided specific conditions are met. In 2018, the use of vaginal mesh implants was paused in the UK due to patient safety issues.
Vaginal mesh surgery was paused due to thousands of complaints from women reporting problems with chronic pain, ability to walk, have intercourse, or attend work as a result of their surgery. Under NICE recommendations, mesh would only be available after non-surgical options to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. Additionally, patients would receive a “decision aid” prior to choosing to move forward with vaginal mesh surgery.
There is public controversy over recent NICE claims that “long-term risks of mesh-related complications are unknown”. Critics point to thousands of women who have had life-altering injuries as a result of mesh surgery. The high complication rate may even impact one in 10 patients.
According to the BBC, the campaign group Sling the Mesh doesn’t believe the new NICE guidelines go far enough and that they pave the way for more women to be harmed. Sling the Mesh has reported that many women who have been harmed by vaginal mesh have either attempted suicide or have suicidal thoughts.
Baroness Cumberlege who has spent months meeting hundreds of women affected by mesh today stated;
“We set five conditions that would need to be met before the pause could be lifted and the use of mesh could be contemplated. Those conditions have not yet been met, and it is clear to us that it will be some considerable time before they are. This means that now and for the foreseeable future mesh should not be used to treat stress urinary incontinence either in the NHS or the independent sector.
A restriction in the use of vaginally inserted mesh for pelvic organ prolapse has also been put in place. Abdominally inserted mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse has, since the introduction of the pause, been subject to an NHS high vigilance regime to address safety concerns. We expect both the restriction and the high vigilance regime to continue.”
We will continue to investigate these claims. The updated NICE guidance will not affect any ongoing claims with us. We will continue to fight for our clients.
If you or a loved one have experienced problems as a result of transvaginal mesh, please contact our dedicated legal team by visiting meshclaimlawyers.com.