Expert group to look for mesh treatments abroad

Scottish Government convenes a group of clinicians to review, compare & contrast how Scotland treats women experiencing transvaginal mesh complications

Monday 10th June 2019

Scottish clinicians will embark on fact-finding trips abroad to look at treatment approaches for women experiencing transvaginal mesh complications and ‘consider how these can be provided in Scotland’.

This could include more women being offered the option of mesh removal if they want it.

The Scottish Government has faced calls from politicians and campaigners to employ the services of a US surgeon who offered to carry out mesh removal in Scotland and train Scottish doctors.

Previously used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence – often caused by childbirth – the use of synthetic mesh implants has been halted in Scotland since the Health Secretary ordered a moratorium on its use last September.  

Some women were left with painful, often permanent, complications from mesh procedures – including chronic pain, exacerbated incontinence and pain during sexual intercourse.  

It is estimated there are 1,000 women in Scotland who could need implants removed. 

In a parliamentary response, the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, states an expert group of clinicians will ‘consider sharing experience, techniques and learning with colleagues in Europe, the USA and elsewhere…with counterparts of proven merit’.

Surgeons, a specialist nurse and a physiotherapist will visit international clinicians to ‘review, compare and contrast their practices with those currently in place in Scotland’.

Meanwhile, women who are dissatisfied with their care are being encouraged to speak up if they are unhappy with the advice or care they have been offered.

Treatment, which can include full or partial removal, is currently offered at two specialist centres within the Lothian and Greater Glasgow & Clyde health boards.

If a patient is unhappy with their treatment at one complication centre they are being told they can request a review at the other.

The final option is an individual request for treatment outside of Scotland, the written answer states.