This week I joined MPs from across the House of Commons to launch the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on mesh. I was also elected as co-chair for the group and will be working closely with the Chair, Owen Smith MP, to ensure that the objectives are achieved.
The objectives of the group are fourfold:
• Raise profile of mesh and the plight of mesh injured women;
• Campaign to bring forward NICE guidelines for mesh in SUI;
• Campaign to secure a national audit and registry for mesh interventions; and
• Advocate for the suspension of mesh as a first line treatment until NICE guidelines are revised.
Surgical mesh is made of polypropylene plastic which can shrink, twist, degrade and cut/erode into nearby tissues and organs causing chronic pain. It is popular operation as it is a cheap and quick fix and takes less surgical skill than traditional, native tissue repairs.
It is used to treat incontinence, prolapse and hernias. It is a real fear that if surgeons continue to rely on mesh, traditional surgical skills will die out.
The APPG will be working closely with the ‘Sling the Mesh’ campaign. They are calling for a full investigation and audit to be carried out into how many women have been adversely affected by vaginal mesh implants and tapes. They want the NHS to write to every woman who has had the operation. Until that review is complete and they have a full understanding of the scale of the disaster they will continue to demand that mesh implants are suspended.
Mesh implants have been increasingly used and the number of women in Delyn who have approached me with their concerns has dramatically increased recently. That is why I felt it was important to help establish the All Party Group on mesh. We will be working across the Commons to ensure that we have the loudest voice possible for women who have been harmed by this implant.
We need to raise the profile of this campaign so more women feel they can come forward and help us push for clinical guidelines to be brought forward. Moreover, it will place more pressure on the Government in the UK to do the right thing and suspend the use of mesh implants.
This is only the beginning of the campaign in Parliament, but from the number of MPs wishing to join the group we can see that it has the best chance of delivering practical change. If anyone in Delyn has been impacted by mesh implants please contact me as I want to help as many people as possible.