News

Supporting women injured by mesh

Published: 24 Mar 2021 10:59

Proposal to refund private removal costs.

A bill has been proposed to enable women who paid for mesh removal surgery to be refunded.

Subject to the outcome of the Scottish Parliament election, new legislation will be introduced to allow the Scottish Government to meet the travel, medical and other reasonable expenses of those who had mesh removal surgery outwith NHS Scotland. 

Currently the law does not allow for such payments to be made from public funds.

NHS Scotland is also inviting tenders to allow suitably qualified surgeons to perform free mesh removal, where this surgery is clinically appropriate and where patients wish it to take place outside of NHS Scotland. 

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“The Scottish Government halted the implantation of transvaginal mesh in 2018, and is committed to keeping this halt in place.

“We absolutely recognise the serious distress which may have led to women using their own funds to pay for private surgery. As the Scottish Government does not currently have the legal power to refund these past costs we propose introducing legislation in the next parliament, subject to the outcome of the election.  

“NHS Scotland is also inviting tenders to provide mesh removal surgery outside the NHS in the future for women who would prefer that option. We have decided to make these exceptional arrangements for surgery because of the trauma women have suffered as a result of mesh complications.  

“Surgery carried out through this process either in the UK or overseas will of course be free of charge to patients with necessary travel costs paid for.

“Women who have suffered painful side effects from vaginal mesh implants must get the best possible care and we are also funding a new NHS Scotland national specialist centre where surgeons are operating now to remove mesh where this is appropriate. The development of the centre, and the way it operates, continues to be the subject of detailed consultation with affected women."

BACKGROUND

The Scottish Government has also announced the start of the Transvaginal Mesh Case Record Review which is intended to look into concerns raised by women about whether case records accurately reflected the treatment that had been received. A £1 million mesh fund to help towards the costs associated with emotional or practical support has also been established.