Belfast Telegraph

Vaginal mesh implant campaign being brought to Westminster

Campaigners aiming to have vaginal mesh implant procedures banned are set to meet with MPs later today.

The group is made up of around 60 women from across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland that have experienced chronic pain after undergoing the procedure.

The use of mesh is used to treat issues like pelvic organ prolapses and stress incontinence, conditions that are often brought about by childbirth.

Over the past few years there have been increased reports of women experiencing extreme pain after undergoing a mesh procedure, and in 2014 Scotland put a temporary stop on the use of vaginal mesh implants.

In March of this year a report on the subject was published by Scottish Parliament, recommending that vaginal mesh implants could continue under certain conditions and that, among other things, patients should be made aware of alternative treatments.

A legal challenge by women in Northern Ireland is currently in the preliminary stage, and Belfast-based negligence solicitors Thompsons NI has appealed for anyone impacted by mesh implants to come forward.

As well as a meeting with MPS, an event will take place outside of Portcullis House in Westminster at around 1pm, July 18 and will be addressed by Labour's shadow Northern Ireland secretary Owen Smith MP.

Speaking ahead of the event Mr Smith said: "I am deeply concerned that so many women have experienced profound, life-changing complications after mesh surgery.

"Women who have undergone the surgery invariably say they were advised that this was a simple operation, with little accompanying risk. But for too many, mesh implants have been the cause of chronic and debilitating pain. This issue must be more widely known and discussed."

The Pontypridd MP was unsuccessful in having the issue debated in the House of Commons prior to the summer recess, and has said that he will attempt to bring it up again once proceedings resume in September.

Jackie Harvey, who had a mesh implant in 2005 and had it removed last year, is one of the women involved in bringing the campaign forward.

Speaking to BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, she said that after undergoing a TVT mesh procedure she eventually developed "chronic pain in my pelvic area, in my hips, my groin, my lower back and my thighs. I would never have been told of any side effect".

Between 2007/08 and 2015/16 a total of 5,575 of the mesh implants were carried out in Northern Ireland.

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