New data reveals that hundreds of women have had vaginal mesh implants removed due to serious health complications.
‘Given the importance of this issue, I have asked the chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, to seek the views of relevant NHS bodies, surgical societies, and patient groups on the implications of the statistics, and report back to me within a month,’ said Lord O’Shaughnessy, health minister.
Statistics from NHS Digital reveal that meshes have been inserted in 27,016 women for prolapse since 2008, and 211 women have had them removed.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 women in the UK have had a meshes inserted, including vaginal tape implants, and NHS England has previously claimed that most women have experienced no ill effects.
However, more than 800 women are now tacking legal action against the NHS, many of them suffering from long lasting tissue damage as the mesh has cut into the vaginal walls, causing pain and potentially life-threatening infections.
Sling the Mesh, a campaign group, have accused the government of using data selectively.
‘It has not included private patients or women going to GPs for pain medication or antibiotics to treat painful urinary infections, so there are thousands not included in this data,’ said Kath Sansom, founder of Sling the Mesh.
‘This audit has no information on the devastating social and psychological impact on women – we ran a survey that shows one-in-three women in our group of 6,000 have had to stop work, and one in five reduced their hours due to disability or pain. We demand a national recall urgently before hundreds more women are maimed by mesh.’