Scotland politics

Former director of public health to review mesh implant surgery

Alex Neil
Health Secretary Alex Neil requested a suspension in the use of mesh implants by the NHS in Scotland

Health Secretary Alex Neil has appointed a retired director of public health to review the effectiveness of mesh implant surgery in Scotland.

Dr Lesley Wilkie will examine how many women have suffered complications as a result of receiving implants to treat incontinence.

Dr Wilkie will start work next month and is due to report early next year.

All health boards have been asked to suspend the use of implants while the review is underway.

Mr Neil announced the review during an appearance before MSPs on 17 June.

He said he was "deeply troubled" after hearing evidence from women who had suffered painful and debilitating complications.

Transvaginal mesh implants are usually used to treat a prolapsed bladder and relieve incontinence, often as a result of childbirth.

About 1,850 women have the procedure in Scotland every year.

Some women have been left in constant pain after the implants hardened, and told they could never have sex again.

Hundreds of mesh implant-related claims are due before the Scottish courts within the next year, with cases already under way in the US and Canada, where the authorities have issued warnings to hospitals.

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