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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-22523: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 4 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update of action it has taken following the meeting with mesh survivors on 5 March 2019.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 1 May 2019

After the Parliamentary debate on 5 March and my subsequent meeting with affected women, I gave careful consideration to the views expressed in relation to mesh complication services and, as I explained in my letter of 3 April, followed up on the short-time working group. The group, including Health Board Accountable Officers (or nominated Deputies) and other key individuals, has been established in order to examine the needs of patients and the course of care provided for those who suffer complications following vaginal mesh surgery. It will consider what additional steps could be taken to offer choice to women who want – and are clinically suitable for – removal of mesh. The group will also review and identify areas of best practice in the United Kingdom and beyond, and if these are not already available, consider how these can be provided in Scotland. The work that I have asked the group to undertake, along with my letters of 3 April both to you and to the patients who I met, reflect the commitments I gave in the 5 March meeting.

Setting out the group's work in more detail, it will:

  • consider the physical and psychological needs of women who experience complications following vaginal mesh surgery;
  • consider sharing experience, techniques and learning with colleagues in Europe, the USA and elsewhere. For this to be successful it is important that surgeons and clinical teams engage with counterparts of proven merit and who are regarded by the professionals as leaders and innovators in their field;
  • review the course and organisation of care for patients suffering complications in Scotland with a broader UK perspective;
  • examine the complex education and training requirements we must have to ensure a sustainable, resilient and high quality service; and
  • identify the resource requirements to provide the service our patients need.

As the group progresses this work, it will be important takes account of patient views. A clinician has been nominated by Scottish Mesh Survivors to represent them in this respect. In addition and in order to capture a broad perspective of patient opinion, officials are presently examining further avenues for patient feed-in, and are seeking the advice of both Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Transvaginal Mesh Oversight Group and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland.

It is, of course, important that this work is progressed as quickly as possible, so that we can ensure that patients at all times have access to a sustainable, resilient and quality service. As such, an initial meeting of the group took place on 5 April, with further meetings being held as required over the coming months. Further, the group aims to conclude this work in the autumn, at which point it will report to Health Board Chief Executives, given their role as leaders for service change. Minutes of the group’s meetings, together with members’ declarations of interests, will be published in due course.

Membership of the group is as follows:

Terry O’Kelly, Scottish Government (Chair)

Sham Konamme, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Faye Rodger, NHS Borders

Heather Currie, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Carolyn McKinley, NHS Fife

Klara Ekevall, NHS Forth Valley

Christine Hemming, NHS Grampian

Alan Mathers, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Ibrahim Alsharaydeh, NHS Highland

Adeeb Hassan, NHS Lanarkshire

Simon Nicholson, NHS Lothian

Peter Fowlie, NHS Tayside (By VC)

Angus McKellar, NHS Western Isles

Lorna McKee, Chair, TVMO Group

Sara Twaddle, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Sara Davies, Scottish Government

David Bishop, Scottish Government

Alexandra Rice, Scottish Government

Corinne Love, Scottish Government

Nicola Steedman, Scottish Government

Gregory Hill-O’Connor, Health and Social Care Alliance

Wael Agur, Scottish Mesh Survivors Representative

Anne Lillico, Scottish Government (Secretariat)