The Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman has promised women affected by vaginal mesh complications that recommendations on improving their care and wellbeing will be made by the autumn.
She set up an expert working group last month after meeting with women who have developed complications as a result of vaginal mesh implants.
Ms Freeman has now written to campaigners, MSPs, and the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee to set out details of the work the expert group will undertake.
The group, made up of senior clinical managers, medical directors, and other key specialists, held its first meeting last Friday, with further meetings held as required over the coming months.
It is expected to submit its findings to health board chief executives in the early autumn.
In the letter, Ms Freeman explains that the group will consider what additional steps could be taken to offer choice to women who want – and are clinically suitable for – mesh removal.
The group will also review and identify areas of best practice in the UK and elsewhere, and 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;
- review the course and organisation of care for patients with complications in Scotland with a broader UK perspective;
- examine the complex education and training requirements required to ensure a sustainable and resilient high quality service; and
- identify resource requirements to provide the service patients need.
Patient involvement is essential, she insists: “It is vitally important that, as the group progresses this work, it takes account of patient views. On that basis a nominated clinician will help feed in views from patients.
“Additionally, however, 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 on how this could be achieved,” she writes.