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Mesh implant campaigners 'betrayed' by report publication

From BBC - March 27, 2017

Two campaigners against mesh implants say they are "dismayed and disgusted" at the publication of an independent report into their risks and use which they claim has been "watered down".

Olive McIlroy and Elaine Holmes, who resigned from the mesh implants review group, said they felt "utterly betrayed" by the publication.

It was claimed that parts of the final report had been removed.

The Scottish government said it had accepted the recommendations in full.

The report said mesh implant procedures must not be offered routinely to women with pelvic organ prolapse.

The expert group concluded that patients should be offered a range of treatments - mesh and non-mesh - and must be given the information to make "informed choices".

Transvaginal mesh implants are medical devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth.

Ms McIlroy, from Renfrew, and Ms Holmes, from Newton Mearns, both suffered severe complications following mesh implant surgery.

Following their resignations earlier this month, it emerged that a consultant also quit the expert group over concerns about the final draft of the report.

The consultant claimed that an entire chapter, which highlighted concerns about the use of mesh in some procedures and contained tables displaying the risks of treatment, had been taken out.

That chapter has been published but only as an attachment to the final report, and table two from that chapter - which highlights the risks of mesh implants - is still missing altogether.

What the report says:

The final report states: "It is clear that a number of women have suffered serious, life-changing complications following transvaginal mesh implant surgery.

"It is also evident that many women have benefited from these procedures.

"However, due to the way these procedures are coded, it is not possible to provide accurate data on the number of mesh procedures where complications have occurred.

"This lack of information, allied with the fact that adverse events have been under-reported, has led to opinion being divided on the safety of transvaginal mesh procedures."

The Scottish government said it would now set up an oversight group to ensure the recommendations were implemented.

Former health secretary Alex Neil described the decision to publish the report without investigating claims of a whitewash to be "totally unacceptable".

'Not in our name'

In a joint statement, Ms McIlroy and Ms Holmes said: "We are dismayed and disgusted that the Scottish government have seen fit to publish this tainted report despite all the concerns raised by us and the expert who resigned in protest over missing vital evidence and safety warnings on mesh.

"We are furious that our name has not been removed from a report which we believe is nothing more than a whitewash and a betrayal of every one of the hundreds of Scottish women who have had their lives devastated by the injuries caused by mesh implants, and their families.

"We are seeking legal advice on the matter as we have repeatedly told both the head of the review and Health Secretary Shona Robison that our names must be removed from this report, and any input we have had be withdrawn.

Suspension request

'Final stages marred'

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