New vaginal mesh guidelines criticised

pelvic mesh inquiry

The new vaginal mesh guidelines that have been put in place following last year’s widespread pause in the NHS have come under heavy criticism already.

All we can say is that we know just how bad it can be for the women whose vaginal mesh procedures fail. We see the impact it has on people when lives can be turned upside down, with complications leaving some women unable to walk or work ever again. We act for women who have suffered horrendous problems, and some complications simply cannot be resolved.

The 2018 NHS pause was a step in the right direction, but the continued use of mesh slings and tapes remains a serious concern.

New vaginal mesh guidelines hit with criticism

There has been heavy criticism over the new vaginal mesh guidelines that have been published by NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). Some of the primary concerns relate to a perceived lack of focus on the women who have suffered permanent and severe damage from procedures that have failed. Some also feel that the issue over a lack of knowledge about the long-term effects has also not been thoroughly addressed.

Chairman of the surgical mesh cross-party parliamentary group, Owen Smith MP, criticised the guidelines for not being clear enough about mesh only being used as a sort of last-resort when non-mesh approaches have failed.

He said:

“I am deeply disappointed that the updated guidelines appear to disregard mesh-injured women’s experiences by stating that there is no long-term evidence of adverse effects. Thousands of women have faced life-changing injuries following mesh surgery and they must not be ignored.”

What do the new vaginal mesh guidelines mean for victims?

We imagine that the new vaginal mesh guidelines don’t come as much comfort to the thousands of women who have suffered complications. The issue over the long-term effects of this approach to correcting pelvic organ prolapse, and the fact that it can be impossible to remove a mesh sling or tape when there are complications in some cases, remains a real concern.

The new guidelines are said to focus on ensuring that non-surgical approaches first, with women to be offered extensive advice about what could go wrong. This is also supposed to be coupled with a  national registry for identifying trends and issues.

But the acceptance of a lack of long-term knowledge isn’t going to help the potential future wave of new victims of failed mesh procedures who may end up with life-altering problems. With figures quoted form the Guardian suggesting that one in 15 women have had tape removed due to complications, the risks of having the procedure cannot be understated.

You only need to look at the victims to see what the long-term impact can be, and this ought to have been focus on within the new guidelines.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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