New legislation on mesh removal

Reimbursement for private surgery costs

 The cost of private surgery to remove transvaginal mesh will be reimbursed under a proposed new law.

The Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill will establish a scheme which will reimburse those who have paid privately to undergo mesh removal surgery.

The costs in each case are estimated at £16,000 - £23,000.

To ensure patients receive treatment they have confidence in, a procurement process to allow appropriately qualified surgeons outside the NHS to bid to perform removal for patients in Scotland is underway and will shortly conclude. This will complement the Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service already established in NHS Scotland and is intended to allow everyone affected to get the treatment and care that they need.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I absolutely recognise the serious distress that may have led women to using their own funds to seek mesh removal surgery privately. This legislation aims to help those who have undergone private treatment by allowing these past costs to be refunded.

“We recognise that some women have been let down by the NHS when they presented with complications and that is simply unacceptable.  We are working to build confidence in our Scottish services and the various projects underway, including the Case Record Review and our work with the Health and Social Care Alliance will support this. Nonetheless, alternative options will be available to those who feel unable to be treated in Scotland, achieving the ultimate objective on ensuring all people get the treatment and care that they need.”


More details on the Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill can be viewed at the Scottish Parliament's website

The Scottish Government has taken decisive action on mesh, and Scotland is the first UK country to reimburse people for private treatment previously sought.

The use of vaginal mesh in the treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) was formally halted in NHS Scotland in September 2018 and remains in place. The Scottish Government is committed to maintaining this halt.

Last year, the £1million mesh fund opened for applications for those experiencing complications and earlier this year, the Case Record Review commenced, which is looking in to concerns raised by patients about their medical records.

In July 2020, Baroness Cumberlege published her report on the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety (IMMDS) Review. This Review was commissioned by the UK Government to examine how the healthcare systems responded to concerns raised about three medical interventions, including mesh. The Review made nine strategic recommendations and the former Health Secretary participated in a debate on this in Parliament in September 2020, accepting all the recommendations which were within Scotland’s devolved competence. This includes the establishment of a Patient Safety Commissioner.


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