The NHS should be ashamed of itself say campaigners as Australia announces a ban on two types of pelvic mesh used in hospitals across Britain
PUBLISHED: 14:19 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:19 29 November 2017
Campaigners are celebrating after health chiefs in the UK and Australia announced vaginal mesh implants to fix prolapse are to be banned.
In addition, health watchdogs in Australia are banning one of four types of mesh tape to treat incontinence.
Known as single incision mini slings, they were implanted in 650 women in 35 UK hospitals, in the last three years.
Locally, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn, recruited women to this trial.
In Britain, NICE will call for a stop to operations using vaginal mesh prolapse devices in a ruling being officially announced on December 20.
The guidelines say the mesh implants should only be used for research and not routine operations - campaigners have welcomed the ruling saying it is a back door ban.
Sling The Mesh issued a statement saying: “This is proof of the growing realisation of the global mesh scandal.
“It shows a world wide institutional denial and how those tasked with monitoring patient safety have failed on an epic level.
“We demand the Government suspend all pelvic mesh implants while a retrospective audit is carried out to find out the true level of suffering in this country.
“Authorities, surgeon societies and those in power in the UK have failed women and as result thousands have suffered irreversible life changing injuries. The NHS, MHRA and government ministers should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.”
In Australia, health watchdogs the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the TGA, said it is banning two types of mesh - transvaginal prolpase mesh and mesh mini slings for incontinence - after realising there are not enough studies to support its use.
Since Australia’s mesh review began in 2013, 45 devices have been removed from use.
Australian campaigner Caz Chisholm said: “I am relieved. Women worldwide have been begging their medical governing bodies for many years to do what the TGA have done.
“It is a big step towards recognition of the suffering of so many women. There is however, a way to go before we see the stress incontinence meshes withdrawn.
“I am still struggling to understand why the incontinence tapes are still considered the gold standard when the percentage of women damaged by them is equal to the prolapse meshes and the complications can be debilitating and catastrophic.
“The battle to ban all mesh continues.”
MP Emma Hardy criticised the UK watchdog, the MHRA, which wants women to report problems to the Yellow Card scheme, except most have never heard of it.
In the UK the full NICE guidelines on mesh sling tapes to treat incontinence, and prolapse mesh inserted via the stomach, are due out in 2019.
MP Owen Smith and Emma Hardy are calling for those guidelines to be published earlier amid concerns from hundreds of patients across Britain.
Some implants can cut into the vagina, nerves, tissue, bladders, bowels and wombs and hundreds of women have been left in permanent crippling pain, unable to walk, work or have sex.
The mesh implants are made of polypropylene and manufactured by different companies. The devices support weakened tissue that causes incontinence or prolapse often caused by childbirth.
The main brand used in England are those by Johnson and Johnson.
MP Emma Hardy said the UK watchdog, the MHRA says women need to report to their Yelllow Card scheme, except most have never heard of it.