Mesh Campaigners Lobby Parliament and Call for Suspension

Jane Akre
July 17, 2017

Sling the Mesh campaign logo

Mesh Medical Device News Desk, July 17, 2017 ~ Car Crash in the Pelvis - that's how mesh campaigners are describing injuries from transvaginal mesh as they lobby United Kingdom Members of Parliament.

Anti-Transvaginal mesh campaigners who want Britain to follow Scotland’s lead and ban mesh implants used to treat incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), plan a rally of hundreds at Parliament Tuesday.

Calling it like a “car crash in the pelvis,” the Sling the Mesh Campaign wants a halt on the use of pelvic mesh similar to the ban called in Scotland in June 2014.

Kath Sansom, founder of Sling the Mesh, says women are still being offered prolapse mesh as a standard surgery without true informed consent.

An estimated 100,000 women in Britain have had mesh tape for incontinence, she says.

There is no reliable word on the mesh used for POP, according to a published report. The problem is surgeons are not collecting reliable, usable data. Agreement is there is under reporting of a sizable magnitude.

Victoria Derbyshire


Unlike US media coverage on mesh issues, media, including the BBC, a Canadian film crew, editor of the British medical Journal, and reporter Victoria Derbyshire, are expected to follow members of the Sling The Mesh group.

More than 100 activists are expected inside the committee room with about 80 outside on the Green. Some active campaigners are members of Parliament.

Kath Sansom, Sling the Mesh

According to a press release here, retired leading Obstetrician and Gynecologist John Osborne will be in attendance, he predicted a disaster with meshes well over a decade ago.

A top removal surgeon in England, Dr. Sohier Elneil is also expected to join in the campaign along with Sansom.

Sansom tells MND, “The best way of informing a lot of MPs and Peers about an issue, explaining one’s own viewpoint, and hopefully of winning them over, is a lobby. A lobby championed by one MP or Peer is a perfect way to get lots of people affected together in an official capacity inside the Houses of Parliament.”

Parliamentary Green, London


MP (Member of Parliament) Owen Smith is that champion.

In a June 30th article in the Wisbech Standard, Smith is quoted as calling for a UK wide suspension of transvaginal mesh which he says have "ruined lives."

Owen Smith, MP

MP Smith is calling the use of transvaginal mesh a “Scandal” that is “underreported” and “misunderstood.”

Until more is known, Smith is calling for a suspension on the use of transvaginal mesh implants.

Smith is reported as saying on BBC Radio that “In Scotland they suspended this this material, vaginal mesh, until they’ve sorted it out. In Northern Ireland we have an audit. In England we’re still waiting, after what seems to me to be a ridiculous amount of time, more than two years, for a report to come out.”

Sling the Mesh campaigners say now, “There are no safeguards in place for women in England, Northern Ireland or Wales.” This is morally wrong. We demand that this imbalance is redressed so the whole of the UK falls in line with Scotland.”

Sansom hopes this lobbying effort will gain government attention, championed by Smith, and when debate begins in September/October, more Members of Parliament will understand the issue and will be aligned with the call to suspend transvaginal mesh to be in line with Scotland so women in the UK are safeguarded too.

“The moratorium in Scotland is that mesh remains suspended to at least May 2018 until the independent review is finalized, so by then mesh will have been suspended for four years yet in the rest of the UK it is widely used with more women needlessly maimed on a daily basis.

This has to stop.”

Ulf Ulmsten, founder of TVT

The British Society of Urogynaecologists (BSUG) admits there is a lack of research on outcomes due also to poor coding which makes data collection impossible.

Meanwhile the UK version of the FDA, the MHRA continues to say the benefit of transvaginal mesh outweigh the risk which it identifies as one to three percent.

Tension-free vaginal tape or TVT was introduced in Europe in 1997 and one year later in the U.S.

Its creation had been championed by Dr. Ulf Ulmsten, who was under contract with Johnson & Johnson at the time to deliver a retrofitted mesh implant for women fashioned from sheets of hernia mesh. Read the background story here.

Sling the Mesh campaign logo


Sling The Mesh campaign has more than 2,200 members and according to Sansom, all were told they would benefit from the simple 20 minute fix.

“What none of us were told were the devastating complications. There are women who now struggle to walk, are in constant pain, suffer infections, loss of sex life or worse mesh shrinking and cutting into the bladders, bowels or slicing through vaginal walls.”

Here is the Press Release - News Release July 17 2017

Read the rest of the article (here) on Smith which cites a mesh complication risk as high as 42 percent.

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