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"Systematic failings' revealed in recent mesh review

A Scottish commissioned review into a previous inquiry on mesh implants has found that it suffered “systemic” failings and potential conflicts of interest.

The recent review led by Professor Alison Britton looked into the original mesh inquiry which had been commissioned four years ago by the former health secretary Alex Neil. The original inquiry lasted three years and shortly before its findings were published in May last year, three members resigned raising concerns after key warnings about safety were moved to the appendices.

Professor Britton’s review has revealed that potential conflicts of interest in the original inquiry were not revealed including some members having been paid by the pharmaceutical industry, some were suing and some were being sued.

In terms of future inquiries, Professor Britton recommended a new “test of impartiality” requiring previous involvement and interest to be openly declared.

In early 2018 the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review was established to investigate how the Health system responds to reports from patients about side effects from treatments including mesh implants. This review is being led by Baroness Cumberlege who stated: “It is essential that voices aren’t just listened to, but properly heard and whenever appropriate, the system promptly learns lessons and makes changes”.

In July 2018 a temporary suspension was placed in Northern Ireland upon the use of surgical mesh in treating cases of urinary stress incontinence. This put into force the early findings of Baroness Cumberlege who had advised that the use of mesh implants should be suspended until such times, as all necessary steps had been taken to mitigate the risk to patients.

The Cumberlege review continues. It is expected that the Review team will hear testimony from women in Northern Ireland as to the effect which mesh devices have had upon them.

Thompsons NI represents a considerable number of local ladies who have significant, and often life-changing complications following the use of surgical tape/mesh. If you have been affected by the use of such devices, please contact either Joanne Kerr or Oonagh McClure at our office on 0800 138 6880 for a free consultation, or fill in our online claim form.