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In America, mesh victim wins £42m payout. In Scotland, ministers spend just £4500 on inquiry into the scandal

Mesh survivors group with Alex Neil (centre) and Neil Findlay MSP (Pic: Callum Moffat)
Mesh survivors group with Alex Neil (centre) and Neil Findlay MSP (Pic: Callum Moffat)

THE PUBLIC inquiry into the NHS mesh scandal cost the Scottish Government barely £5000, it has emerged.

And yesterday Neil Findlay, chairman of Holyrood’s health committee, described the £4500 spent on the mesh implant safety review as a “disgraceful pittance.”

The revelation came as a woman in the United States won £42.5m in compensation after being crippled by mesh surgery as awards given to victims in the States climbed above £2 billion.

In Scotland, hundreds of women given the implants were left with life-changing injuries. Some have to use wheelchairs as they can no longer walk.

Campaigners have asked the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee to indefinitely suspend the controversial surgical procedures to treat bladder problems and pelvic prolapse. They are also urging Health Secretary Shona Robison to revisit the recent safety review report.

Mr Findlay, a Labour MSP, said: “We’re facing one of the biggest medical scandals in NHS history with hundreds of women in Scotland left crippled with pain, and our Government is so concerned it deemed the inquiry was worth less than they spent hiring a car for Nicola Sturgeon when she spent five days in California in April.

“I’m not in favour of throwing public money about, but is that really what those women’s lives are worth? Scotland was taking the lead in what has become a global medical scandal and we blew it.”

One medical expert, urogynecologist Dr Wael Agur, and two patient representatives resigned from the inquiry in disgust before the report was published in March.

Campaigner Elaine Holmes, of the Scottish Mesh Survivors group, said: “The £4500 is an indication of the significance the Government has given this scandal.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson last night confirmed the £4500 spend, adding: “The Independent Review considered high-quality evidence that was produced according to international guidelines. The review members, who offered a range of experience and expertise, provided their time free of charge.”