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19/06/19 16:18

Improving services for mesh complications

Complex case review unit to be established.

A new complex case unit will be established in NHS Scotland to ensure women who have experienced complications from mesh procedures receive the best care and treatment.

Steps are also being taken to engage with international experts to see how mesh complication services - including mesh removal - can be improved.

In an update to parliament, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman gave feedback on the most recent meeting of the short-life working group on mesh complications.

Ms Freeman said:

“The group considered a range of evidence on patient experience and care pathways, not least the views of women who have experienced mesh complications on the potential benefits of learning from the work of Dr Dionysios K. Veronikis.

“As a result, and in line with his offer, I have asked that we seek to bring Dr Veronikis to Scotland for a period of time to provide treatment, expert advice and training. Clearly, such an arrangement would be subject to agreement and regulatory approval.

“As regulation in this area is reserved, I have written to the UK Government’s Health Secretary and the General Medical Council to highlight this case, with a hope it can be taken forward as quickly as possible.

“The group has also begun work to establish a national complex case review unit within the NHS in Scotland. This will be taken forward through our service design processes, with a view to being established as soon as is practicable.

“Work is underway to enhance care pathways for patients with complications within individual boards, with each board tasked with setting out how this will be achieved – including the need for improved co-ordination with primary care services.

“In the interim, for patients with mesh complications who have contacted the Scottish Government directly about their care, I have asked that their cases be directed to the appropriate Accountable Officer within their health board area. I have been clear in my expectations that the Accountable Officer will provide responses to each patient as quickly as possible and support any woman who wishes to have a second opinion on their care.”

Background

In the above context, an NHS board Accountable Officer is the Medical Director or their nominee.

The short-life working group was established to see what additional steps could be taken to help women with mesh complications. The group met for a third time on 14 June 2019 and is expected to publish its initial findings in the autumn.

Dr Veronikis is an obstetrician-gynaecologist based in Missouri, USA.

Ms Freeman instructed a halt to transvaginal mesh procedures in September 2018. As she set out last week, there is no prospect of the halt being lifted, and she has not requested that any planning take place to consider the lifting of the halt.

Full parliamentary answer.