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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-17678: Richard Lochhead (Moray)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 13 July 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the decision to suspend vaginal mesh surgery in England, as recommended by the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, and what impact this will have on such procedures in Scotland.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 31 July 2018

In 2014 the Scottish Government requested that Health Boards suspend the use of transvaginal mesh. At the time no such action was taken in England. The recent decision to pause trans-vaginal mesh procedures in England is therefore seen as bringing clinical practice in the two nations into alignment.

Nonetheless, in both Scotland and England it is recognised that for some women with debilitating symptoms, surgery may be the only treatment option. In such circumstances, women must have choices and access to the care they need, delivered with appropriate governance and oversight. In light of this, the Scottish Government has been clear that:

  • the protocols in NHS Scotland for care include ensuring that patients receive the information they need to make decisions about their treatment. All options should be considered and treatment can only go forward once a patient gives informed consent; and
  • treatment is to be delivered by a multidisciplinary team with appropriate audit, reporting and surveillance.

Furthermore, Healthcare Improvement Scotland has established an Oversight Group which is reviewing trends in procedures and reported adverse events; and the Scottish Government continues to liaise with colleagues in NHS England and the other devolved administrations with a view to establishing a cross-UK registry of mesh procedures.

The Scottish Government's request that Health Boards suspend the use of transvaginal mesh has resulted in a significant reduction in mesh procedures being carried out, with the number of procedures in 2016-17 at 10 per cent of the total number in 2013-14.