Scottish Health Sec. Alex Neil
Mesh Medical Device News Desk, June 23, 2016 ~ Journalist Marion Scott continues her headline-making reporting on pelvic mesh implant procedures for Scotland’s Daily Record.
On Tuesday, Health Secretary Alex Neil suspended surgeries using pelvic mesh (transvaginal mesh) for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) pending an independent safety audit. A national review will begin early next year. Patients who are awaiting pelvic mesh surgery will be contacted and offered alternatives.
Also part of the decision, doctors are being urged to report complications to any pelvic procedure, not just mesh. Neil will include patient advocates in the review and they will be brought into a final decision.
This is the culmination of campaigners in Scotland including Linda McLaughlin who was the first to address parliament to expose the life-altering aftermath of pelvic mesh surgery.
Elaine Holmes addresses Parliament
Hear Our Voice campaign and Scottish Mesh Survivors members were present for the surprise announcement. Olive McIlroy, 57 and Elaine Holmes wept with joy, Scott reports, as Neil made the announcement.
"Mesh firms spend millions on research and funding and we cannot have anyone who has been involved in that work heading up the review. We need someone with an open mind who will put patients first,” said McIlroy.
Lorraine McCorquodale, 58, of Dundonald, Ayrshire, who is about to have her 15th op in five years to remove mesh tape, said: “I just hope Alex Neil stays strong because the powerful, wealthy companies who sell these devices have influence everywhere.
“We always knew our fight wouldn’t benefit any of us but no other women will have to share our nightmare and that is enough for us.
When Alex Neil uttered the words, ‘We will be suspending mesh...’, it took a few seconds to sink in, writes JEFF HOLMES.
Women who still want a mesh implant will be able to have one with full details on the procedure and its complication rate.
The campaigners had asked for mandatory reporting of all adverse incidents by health professionals, a Scottish Transvaginal Mesh implant register, a fully informed patient consent, along with the mesh use suspension.
In October of last year, the Scottish government said it would no longer recommend three of the four procedures routinely recommended to treat incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Scottish Mesh Survivors, Hear Our Voice campaign and Marion Scott’s insistent and consistent reporting largely made the difference. See the background story on Mesh News Desk here.
Marion Scott, Reporter of the Year 2015
Back then Marion Scott told Mesh News, “The mesh victims played a huge role in writing the patient information leaflets and they have ensured all possible side effects are explained clearly. The SUI leaflet has already been done and they are working on the POP leaflet as we speak. This is a great example of what can be achieved. I’m so proud of all these incredible women who put their own pain to one side and pushed for these changes so no other women need suffer. They really are incredible.”
Scott won Reporter of the Year, 2015 for her grabbing headline and front-page news.
October 2013, both Dr. M. Tom Margolis and Shlomo Raz added their letters to the voices of mesh victims in speaking to members of the parliamentary health committee. See the story here.
Scotland Health Secretary Interim report, October 2015
Scottish Mesh Survivors Petition, April 2014