Government pledge to live up to promise on mesh removal surgery
Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health at Holyrood.
By Bill Heaney
The SNP government have asked a group of senior medical managers to look at a range of options for improving the care and support for the women, which will draw on international expertise in trans-vaginal mesh surgery, it was revealed yesterday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament: “The health secretary [Jeane Freeman] and the chief medical officer met mesh campaigners and [Labour MSP] Neil Findlay to discuss their concerns about access to specialist services for mesh removal.
“We are listening carefully to those concerns. We have asked a group of senior medical managers to look at a range of options for improving the care and support for the women, which will draw on international expertise in trans-vaginal mesh surgery.
“The group will draw on academics and other advisers, as well as advocates for the women who have been affected. The group’s first meeting will be held as soon as possible, and Jeane Freeman has committed to writing to the campaigners within one month to set out the probable timescales for the work.”
Mr Findlay said: “At the meeting that the First Minister mentioned, mesh survivors made an emotional appeal for the Government to take up the offer from a top US surgeon to come to Scotland to carry out pioneering mesh removal and to train surgeons here.
“On Friday, the Government issued an ambiguous press release that hinted at progress but lacked clarity. I seek a clear and straightforward answer on the mesh survivors’ behalf.
“When will Scottish mesh survivors have access to mesh removal procedures of the highest global standard?
“Will the Government now accept the offer from Dr Veronikis to come to Scotland and help mesh-injured women here?”
The First Minister said: “Jeane Freeman listened carefully to those she met on Friday and, since then, has done everything that she told the campaigners she would do.
“She has asked a group of medical directors and senior clinical managers to look at a range of options to improve care and support, which is the right way forward.
“Jeane Freeman will write to campaigners within a month, setting out the next steps.
“Decisions to remove mesh are made by a patient in consultation with a clinical specialist, who shares all the relevant information and provides support.”