Suspending the use of mesh by the NHS completely would risk leaving some patients with “limited or no treatment options”, the public health minister has warned.
Maree Todd made the comments as she was questioned on a petition submitted to Holyrood calling on the Scottish Government to suspend the use of surgical mesh in all surgeries while a review of its use is carried out.
Back in 2018, ministers put in place a moratorium preventing mesh implant being used in vaginal surgeries after women who had undergone this procedure complained of painful and debilitating complications.
However, mesh is still used throughout the NHS in other operations such as hernia repairs, as well as in some gynaecological procedures.
Ms Todd told MSPs on Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee that in some surgeries where the substance was used there were “few if any viable alternatives”.
As a result, she added: “To suspend their use would leave a cohort of people with limited or no treatment options.”
Her comments came as SNP MSP Bill Kidd told how people who had suffered from complications after such procedures often did not know where to turn.
He said: “There are people who have been uncertain about how they complain, who they complain to, whether they are wasting people’s time.
“But they are in discomfort and it is affecting their lives with this material inside them.”
He continued: “I was speaking recently to a man who had had an abdominal repair, a hernia sorted with mesh, and he has suffered great pain and almost disability with this.”
Ms Todd accepted that it was a “difficult and emotive subject” as she stressed: “The Government is absolutely committed to ensuring that everyone with mesh complications gets the care and treatment they deserve.”
She recalled that the Scottish Government had “taken decisive action” to halt the use of transvaginal mesh.
Ms Todd continued: “We’re acutely aware that there is concern about the use of mesh in other sites, not least from those who are experiencing complications.
“Some people did not feel they were informed of the risks of the procedure they underwent, and it is only natural in those circumstances to feel let down.”
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