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Mesh victims head to Westminster to urge ministers to suspend ops that ruined their lives

Mesh Victims Elaine Holmes and Olive McIlroy
Mesh Victims Elaine Holmes and Olive McIlroy

THE voices of Scotland’s mesh victims will be heard at Westminster this week as the Government is urged to suspend the controversial procedures.

East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton, one of the speakers at Wednesday’s parliamentary debate on the issue, will highlight the life-changing injuries suffered by women in Scotland to hammer home his call for suspension and a safety review.

He said: “The many women I’ve met through Scottish Mesh Survivors have left me in no doubt over what must happen now. I fully intend being their voice in this debate.”

Kath Sansom, of the UK’s Sling The Mesh campaign group said injured women across the country will be represented.

Hundreds of thousands of women worldwide have reported injuries from the implants, used to treat bladder problems and pelvic organ prolapse, but medical watchdogs insist the benefits outweigh the risks.

Mr Masterton said: “Mesh procedures must be suspended until manufacturers can prove their devices are safe.

“Surgical mesh must be reclassified to reflect the injuries suffered by thousands of women across the country.

“Many of the studies and reports into the safety of these devices have been funded in some way by manufacturers.

“Injured women are the evidence of what has gone wrong, not flawed figures.”

Last month, a woman in Philadelphia was awarded £42 million in damages over injuries she sustained from one of the devices most often used in Scotland.

Manufacturers have paid more than £3billion to victims in the US, Scotland faces its biggest ever health claim against the NHS with almost 450 cases, and thousands more are taking legal action.

Scotland became the first country in the world to suspend the use of mesh in 2014 after a successful petition by Elaine Holmes, from Newton Mearns, and Olive McIlroy, from Renfrew, who both suffered crippling injuries.

They both resigned “in disgust” from the safety review commissioned by the Scottish Government after it was revealed all four medical experts on the panel had financial links to mesh manufacturers.

Campaigners, who also claimed ‘“vital safety evidence” was “tampered with” in Scotland’s review, said they are delighted the UK Government has woken up to the scandal.

Ms McIlroy, 60, said: “The UK Government has the opportunity to really make a difference and protect patients from further devastating injuries.

“It’s too late for all of us, but they need to prevent devices being introduced without rigorous safety tests and introduce a register so problems can be flagged up.

“We hope the UK Government grasp that opportunity.”