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Minister under pressure over NHS failure to send a single mesh victim to US

© Mhairi Edwards/DCT MediaHealth Secretary Humza Yousaf
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf

The failure of NHS Scotland to send any mesh-injured women to America for surgery will be raised at Holyrood.

We told last week how, despite the Scottish Government signing a contract with a leading St Louis-based mesh removal specialist in August, no patients have travelled to the US as they have to wait more than a year to be assessed in Scotland.

Last week, women, left with life-changing injuries because of mesh, met Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and demanded action.

Women reacted in fury after we revealed not a single mesh patient had been referred to Dr Dionysios Veronikis in the US, almost four years after he offered to come to Scotland and remove mesh for free.

Cathleen McLeod, 54, from, Benbecula, in the Hebrides, said: “I was given two mesh implants and I spend my life in fear of yet another infection that could turn into sepsis and kill me.

“We cannot understand why there is any need whatsoever for us to wait over a year to see a surgeon in Scotland when Dr Veronikis will be the one carrying out any surgery. It should be down to Dr Veronikis alone to decide whether he can help any individual patient.”

‘This entire scheme is now at risk of spectacular failure’: Pledge to send mesh victims to US surgeon in tatters

Tricia Conlon, 61, from Glasgow, who has been waiting almost two years for a referral to Dr Veronikis, said: “I’ve had three appointments cancelled with the Scottish mesh centre, and just received a letter for a new appointment in June 2023. This is completely unacceptable.

“We did not ask to be left injured and disabled. The NHS has a duty of care to repair the damage they did to us when they decided to ‘save’ £200 by using plastic mesh instead of traditional repairs.”

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw, who has campaigned to secure better care for victims of mesh, vowed to raise the issue in parliament and said: “This is a travesty and I feel a real anger as I hear from more and more women who feel their hopes of a fresh start in life are being betrayed.”

The Scottish Government said it was committed to helping women injured by mesh and expect patients to travel to the US soon.