The Scottish Government has set out its plans to compensate women who had to pay for mesh implant removal surgery.
Holyrood held a Stage 1 debate on the general principles of the Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill on Wednesday.
There was cross-party support for the Bill, which establishes a compensation scheme for women who had removal surgery in the private sector.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf acknowledged the wait for the scheme to be set up would be “frustrating” for women.
There has been a moratorium on vaginal mesh surgery in Scotland since 2018 after a number of women reported suffering painful and debilitating side effects.
In June this year, the Scottish Government confirmed it would reimburse the cost of private surgery for women who have already had mesh implants removed.
Such surgeries cost between £16,000 and £23,000.
Mr Yousaf said: “I completely understand that there are a number of women who have lost trust in our NHS.
“I will work hard to rebuild that, but I also know, from having talked to a number of mesh survivors, that they feel that trust is broken beyond repair. And I am sorry for that.”
The Health Secretary said the legislation gives ministers the power to reimburse costs borne by women who had private transvaginal mesh removal surgery.
He also said the Government agrees “in principle” with reimbursing women who received treatment outside Scotland and the provisions for this will be added at a later stage.
Mr Yousaf said: “It is wrong that women felt this was their only option and the Government is determined to ensure that women never have to feel this way again.
“The successful passage of this Bill will put in place a scheme that will make sure that these costs are met and women involved are no longer at a financial disadvantage.”
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said his party supports the principles of the Bill and wants to see it move quickly through Parliament.
He said: “Over a 20-year period, in Scotland alone over 20,000 women underwent mesh surgery and thousands are believed to have suffered in varying degrees from the effects.
“Some 600 women have resorted to taking legal action.”
Scottish Labour’s Carol Mochan said her colleague Neil Findlay – a former MSP for Lothian – had campaigned on the issue in the last session of the Scottish Parliament.
She said: “He and other members across the chamber recognised that here was an unspeakable and just injustice and we simply could not let it pass.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “In my short career as an MSP I cannot really remember another issue which I think captures the universal support, concern and horror of this chamber.”
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