BY MARION SCOTT SUNDAY MAIL
The UK's Labour’s health spokesman Andy Burnham has accused the Scottish Government of failing women affected by the mesh implants scandal.
He criticised SNP health secretary Alex Neil over his refusal to suspend the use of the controversial treatments.
It follows a Sunday Mail campaign which has highlighted devastating injuries and
enduring agony suffered by hundreds of Scots women.
Burnham said: “The evidence from health boards is shocking and clearly shows thousands of women have been affected by these products which can have life-altering consequences.
“Some of the cases revealed by the Sunday Mail are heart-breaking when what should be
a simple procedure has left women disabled.
“I’m surprised by the lack of action or leadership being shown by the Scottish Government.”
Burnham backs Scotland’s shadow health secretary Neil Findlay who has called on Alex Neil to suspend the use of mesh until an inquiry can properly assess the scale of the scandal.
Pressure on Neil is growing after a US court decision found one of the most widely used vaginal mesh implants, produced by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon, was defective.
Findlay said: “After the US ruling, Alex Neil should have suspended the use of mesh in Scotland and instructed health boards to contact every woman given this implant to check whether they are experiencing any problems.”
Hundreds of thousands of women around the world have reported injuries inflicted by mesh eroding in their bodies.
Many have faced a series of operations as surgeons struggle in vain to remove the mesh used to treat prolapse and bowel conditions.
American courts have already awarded damages of millions of pounds to the victims.
More than 400 cases are lodged in Scotland. The Scottish Government said:“We continue to work with professional organisations to improve reporting and monitoring of procedures using mesh.”
Johnson & Johnson is considering appealing last month’s judgement that their TVT-O device was defective.
Spokeswoman Lucinda Macari said: “The verdict is disappointing and we believe we have strong grounds for an appeal.”
Leslie McGlinchey, 33, of Drumchapel, Glasgow, was forced to use a wheelchair after a mesh implant three years ago, said: “Politicians continue to ignore this scandal at their peril.
“When things go wrong, the damage is so devastating, it affects whole families.
“We’re calling on everyone to sign our petition and get this stuff out of our hospitals.”
The Hear Our Voice petition closes on Wednesday, April 30.
Victims protested outside the US headquarters of Johnson & Johnson last week to highlight the plight of mesh victims.
Campaigners have called for criminal charges against J&J officials who destroyed thousands of documents relating to mesh implants.
Among the protesters at the firm’s offices in New Jersey was Robert Fish whose mother Darlene, 68, shot herself in 2011 after telling her family she’d been left in unbearable pain after a TVT-O implant op in 2008.
In an emotional plea, Robert said he wanted mesh manufacturers to be “held accountable."
Another mesh victim Estelle Tasz, 37, said: “I’m no longer the wife, mother or person I used to be.”
Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health care company, reported revenues of more than £42billion last year, a six per cent jump from 2012.
QUESTION TO MARION: If you live outside of Scotland will your signature have any impact?
"Yes you can sign from anywhere and yes it will have a huge impact. If successful this will be the first country to suspend use of mesh so hope other countries follow suit. We are also asking for a public inquiry to show the true number of injuries and side effects. We are also asking for doctors to be legally compelled to lodge every single adverse effect caused by mesh. That will prevent manufacturers being able to say its safe. And for mesh implants to be given heightened alert status to reflect what is happening So this petition will have a huge impact We hope this will answer a lot of questions people are searching for around the world."
Sunday Mail Newsdesk
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