The Labour Party has called for an independent inquiry into the ‘public health scandal’ surrounding the use of vaginal mesh implants, which the party believes should be banned from use with immediate effect.
Ahead of today’s debate about the safety of mesh implants, shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson said that the government must act immediately to ban their use while they are fully investigated.
Vaginal mesh is used to treat pelvic prolapse and urinary stress incontinence, which can commonly occur after childbirth. Less invasive than traditional surgeries, it was described as ‘a safe option for women’ in NHS guidelines as recently as July. In August, however, figures obtained by The GuardianThe Guardian revealed that thousands of women have undergone surgery in order to have the implants removed after suffering from major complications, with some left unable to have sex or even walk. Speaking to the newspaper, Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, said: ‘What this is showing is significant, very high rates of removals, which are only likely to get worse. It suggests that one in 15 women will need a removal at some point.’
Speaking ahead of today’s debate, which was called by Labour MP Emma Hardy, Sharon Hodgson said: ‘Mesh implants have left women in permanent pain, unable to walk and unable to work. This is an ongoing public health scandal and the Government need to do much more to support those affected.’
‘Ministers have said NICE [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] will publish updated guidance for these products but not until January 2018. Mesh implants should be taken off the market now until we know more about the threat they pose to women’s safety.’
‘The Government have failed to answer big questions about the extent of this public health scandal, including how many women have been affected and why a product with such terrible risks was allowed into the market in the first place.’
‘Labour is calling for a full inquiry to uncover the extent of the harm done by mesh implants so we can be sure that this never happens again.’