Call for suspension of vaginal mesh implants following rise in 'severe pain' complaints

Mesh implants are intended to help with incontinence and other problems resulting from childbirth. Credit: ITV News
  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener

Many women who have had a vaginal mesh implant say they cause severe pain and the side effects of having one are worse than the conditions they are intended to alleviate.

The mesh implants are designed to help deal with incontinence and other problems following childbirth, yet a recent report says that around one in 10 women who have one experience problems with it.

As a result some MPs are calling for their immediate suspension, with a meeting held this week between MPs and campaigners, to urge the Government to suspend their use until more research is carried out.

Julie Gilsenan claims that her mesh implant has left her on a cocktail of medication to deal with the "knife"-life pain.

"It was the pain. I immediately noticed this pain," after the operation to fit it, she explained.

Ms Gilsenan continued that she asked medical staff "Why am I in this much pain?", but was told the pain was because she had undergone surgery.

But she added, "the pain got worse and worse.

"I felt like something had been left inside me.

"I felt like it was sticking through my groin.

"It was a really, really sharp pain like a knife through your groin."

MPs who oppose the mesh implants argue that the NHS is spending millions on drugs for women with adverse reactions.

Some MPs are calling for mesh implants to be halted until more research is carried out. Credit: ITV News

One senior gynaecologist told ITV News she removes an average of eight implants each week due to complications.

"I would have personally liked to have seen all mesh surgery come to a halt, for us to review all of our data - because there's a lot of data in the system and we need to look at it - and come up with the real complications and risks and then go forward from there, " Dr Sohier Elneil explained.

"We do know some people may still need mesh, but not everyone does, certainly".

Dr Sohier Elneil said she is removing an average of eight mesh implants each week. Credit: ITV News

Sources at the Department of Health have conceded that there have been "some awful practice by some doctors which was causing distress to women", but said ministers had rejected the idea of a blanket ban, believing that the implants did help some women.

Around 120,000 women in England and Wales have had vaginal mesh implants, and some 500 women are now considering legal action against the manufacturers.

David Golten, a lawyer representing some of these women said that implants are not regulated in the same way as medicines.

David Golten, a lawyer representing some of the women considering legal action said implants are not regulated in the same way medicines are. Credit: ITV News

"It is a failure and I think that the NHS and all the regulatory bodies and the Government are suffering from a case of institutional denial."

However, manufacturers of the implants and ministers have hit back at these claims, insisting that the implants help the vast majority of women who have had them fitted.