Health secretary to investigate financial redress for mesh-injured

Sling the Mesh campaigners and Steve Barclay

Health secretary Steve Barclay has agreed to explore financial redress for mesh-injured, campaigners say. - Credit: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

The health secretary will investigate financial compensation for women injured from pelvic mesh implants, campaigners say.

Pelvic mesh campaigner Kath Sansom says Steve Barclay, the Secretary of State for Health, agreed to explore the issue further when they met yesterday (Friday). 

The founder of the Sling the Mesh campaign said: "Steve listened to our case for financial redress and is going to investigate with the Department of Health.

“We believe the cost of the redress schemes would be tiny in the context of the NHS budget, and a fraction of the amounts paid out by the NHS through NHS Resolution and litigation awards.”

A TVT mesh sling which can be inserted into women to treat stress incontinence and prolapse. Picture

A TVT mesh sling which can be inserted into women to treat stress incontinence and prolapse. Picture: Kath Sansom - Credit: Archant

The UK government decided last year not to provide compensation to women whose lives had been affected by vaginal mesh implants.

But Kath, a Cambridgeshire mum and former journalist for this news outlet, has continued to put pressure on the government to revisit the issue.

It also comes as victims of another health disaster - the 1970s and 1980s contaminated blood scandal - will receive compensation for the impact it has had on their lives.

On this principle, Kath says, those suffering complications after vaginal mesh implants should be compensated as well.

Health secretary Steve Barclay

Steve Barclay, the North East Cambridgeshire MP, is currently the Secretary of State for Health. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

In 2020, former health secretary Matt Hancock issued a public apology when an inquiry revealed the shocking extent of patient failings and lack of regulation around vaginal mesh implants.

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Among the final report’s nine recommendations is that a “Redress Agency” is set up for those harmed by medical devices and that specialist mesh centres are established.

While a number of mesh centres have opened, campaigners feel more could be done for patients.

Kath Sansom, from March, has been campaigning since 2015 to raise awareness of complications women h

Kath Sansom, from March, has been campaigning since 2015 to raise awareness of complications women have been suffering from pelvic mesh implants.

Kath said: "We also discussed [with the health secretary] the need for the mesh centres to log their long-term outcomes to see who is performing well and who needs more training.

“In addition, our meeting focused on flattening the curve of women suffering incontinence and prolapse after childbirth so they do not need surgery in the first place, by offering women pelvic floor exercise as standard after childbirth as it is in France."

Mum-of-two Kath launched the ‘Sling the Mesh’ campaign seven years ago to raise awareness of life-changing complications some women are suffering after undergoing vaginal mesh surgery.

Its Facebook group now has almost 10,000 members from around the world.

Sling the Mesh campaigners

Mesh campaigners at a rally in London in 2019. - Credit: Sling the Mesh

When she informed the community about her meeting with Mr Barclay, many shared an insight into their lives and the pain they’re currently experiencing.

One mentioned how, at the age of 48, she is now paying for carers.

She said: “Some people are realising they will live the rest of their lives in acute pain and nothing more can be done.

“Quality of life is appalling. I merely exist.”

Another added: “I know my life will never be the same after mesh, but we deserve to be paid compensation for our suffering for many years.”

North East Cambridgeshire MP Mr Barclay was appointed health secretary last month following Sajid Javid's resignation.