Women suffering from complications as a result of mesh implant surgery in Scotland can now apply for a £1,000 payment from the Scottish Government.
A £1 million fund has been launched to support the hundreds of women living with chronic pain caused by vaginal mesh used to repair damaged tissue and bladder or bowel conditions.
People who have endured “hardship” from the surgery – which was halted by the Scottish Government in 2018 – have now been invited to apply for a one-off payment by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.
The Government has stressed the payments are not compensation for NHS wrongdoing or intended to replace disability benefits, but are to cover “costs associated with emotional or practical support”.
The payment is not means-tested but to qualify for it women will have to provide evidence, such as a doctor’s letter, that they have suffered complications from the surgery and have incurred expenses as a consequence.
Commenting on the opening of the fund, which will take applications until May 31 next year, Ms Freeman said: “I welcome the opening of this £1 million fund to help support women who experienced complications after having vaginal mesh implanted in procedures carried out by or on behalf of a Scottish health board.
“We listened carefully to the views and experiences of the women affected when setting up the fund and have made the application process as straightforward as possible.
“We hope the fund will help those who experienced hardship as a result of the complications caused by mesh implants.
“Successful applicants will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 towards costs associated with emotional or practical support.
“We recognise the many distressing effects that mesh complications have had on women and we have already taken strong and decisive action, including halting the use of transvaginal mesh, developing a case record review and establishing a complex pelvic mesh removal service.”
The use of vaginal mesh during surgery was completely stopped in Scotland in September 2018 following a partial ban in 2014 after hundreds of women reported painful and debilitating side effects from the procedure to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, often after childbirth.