Health secretary promises changes after vaginal mesh report

Media caption,
Karen Preater, a member of the Welsh Mesh Survivors group, says the move does not go far enough

A new group to ensure urgent changes are made to women's healthcare in the Welsh NHS has been announced, after the row over the use of vaginal mesh.

It follows an expert report last Friday on the treatment, which has caused complications for some patients.

The report said it should only be used a last resort for patients with incontinence or prolapsed pelvic organs.

There have been calls for a inquiry over the use of vaginal mesh.

Friday's report, for the Welsh Government, said preventative measures should be promoted more, including services for continence, chronic pain and physiotherapy.

Better information for patients and a "more robust" process of consent are also needed, the experts said.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething told AMs on Tuesday that a new "implementation group", backed by up to £1m a year, was being set up.

He said: "I expect all health boards to consider the report's findings and recommendations to consider what local improvements can be made immediately.

"Our aim must be to ensure women receive the best possible care and treatment when they present with stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, or any other complications as a result of existing treatment."

Karen Preater from the Welsh Mesh Survivors group said more action was required.

"There needs to be a full public inquiry on why this has happened, how it's got so bad but also, going forward, what about women who are suffering with pain now and how they're dealt with, how they get the help that they need," she said.

Conservative Aberconwy AM Janet Finch-Saunders said she was worried concerns raised by patients, many whom had called for a ban on using the mesh, had not been addressed.

"I do welcome some of the recommendations of the report in terms of the improved services for pelvic pain in health boards across Wales," she said.

"However, I am concerned that north Wales residents with more complex mesh complications will still be forced to travel to Manchester, in the absence of the relevant uro-gynaecologist and urology specialists."

The implementation group will be chaired by Tracy Myhill, chief executive of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg health board.