Campaigners and MPs held a demonstration outside Parliament on the 6th February highlighting a national scandal regarding the controversial use of vaginal meshes.
Around 40 people turned up from different parts of the country, even though many were not in good health and were still suffering the next day from the journey. Many went in to the house of Lords to hear the issue being discussed, as Lord Hunt asked why they had not been banned in this country, despite being banned in Australia and New Zealand. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Lord O’Shaughnessy, wanted to see the reports on why the countries have done this
The use of these meshes in women has received a lot of media attention over the past year. It has been discussed on the Victoria Derbyshire show and Loose Women. The meshes used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence left many women disabled. At the time they were offered their operations they were not made aware of the serious complications that could occur. Lord hunt declared that: “an increasing number of women have reported suffering complications that include debilitating pain, infection, inflammation, the loss of sex life and mobility issues.”
Several women who attended the House of Lords said they found the discussion very emotional, with tears being shed. Baroness Tonge, who trained as a doctor, worked in family planning and was a Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park was both patronising and dismissive about the medical topic being discussed, telling the room that other medical procedures have a risk of complication and so should they all be reported in the House of Lords. You could hear gasps in the room, with people being shocked that this comment could be made. When Lord O’Shaughnessy disagreed with her, cheers of “Hear! Hear!” were made from many in the room. To dismiss the utter distress the procedure has caused thousands of women in the UK is beyond disrespectful.
MPs Bambos Charalambous, Emma Hardy and Owen Smith, John Hayes and Andy Slaughter joined and supported the women in the demonstration which was held by the Churchill Statue in front of Westminster. The health watchdog NICE had deemed the mesh as unsafe to treat pelvic organ prolapse, with a 40% complication rate, clinicians do have to follow NICE guildlines and a they would need to be strongly justified in using mesh implants outside of these guidelines. According to the BBC news website, 92,000 women had the mesh implant between April 2007 and March 2015, with 11% of the women having problems from the procedure. In the December 2017, the Independent reported the first death caused by the mesh. The woman was 42 and she died of sepsis from the mesh complications and had become immune to antibiotics the mesh was stuck on her internal organs. It was still inside her as she could only have a partial removal.
If you like me believe that this is a national disgrace, please email your MP and spread the word on social media about this devastating issue.