NICE Says the Vaginal Mesh Ban Can Be Lifted But, with Changes

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

Since the immediate ban on the use of mesh in pelvic surgeries in July 2018 in UK, many of the women already affected continue to campaign for a complete end to its use and compensation for those affected.

Now, almost 9 months on, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said these controversial implants may be offered again on the National Health Services (NHS) England, if certain conditions are met.

Here is the latest information on the mesh scandal. Read on to learn more.

Who are NICE?

NICE is the health watchdog in UK, which makes recommendations to the NHS in England based on clinical studies and evidence submitted to it by experts.

The NHS is not required to act on the recommendations from NICE, however, they are expected to consider the guidelines when planning future care.

The Conditions Before Mesh Can Be Used Again

The conditions from NICE included:

  • Operations must be performed by specialist surgeons, at specialist centres.

  • A national database must record all instances and outcomes of all vaginal mesh operations "to help with future decision-making".

  • Each patient must receive detailed evidence on the safety and effectiveness of each available treatment.

  • All non-surgical options must be considered and practiced before surgery is considered - notably a programme of pelvic floor muscle exercise must be adhered to before surgery is considered.

These conditions have been set by NICE, however, the independent review team led by Baroness Julie Cumberlege set 5 of their own conditions before a lift on the temporary ban on mesh use could be considered. She states that these conditions should have been met by March 2019.

"Those conditions have not yet been met, and it is clear to us that it will be some considerable time before they are. This means that now and for the foreseeable future mesh should not be used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI) either in the NHS or the independent sector", says Baroness Cumberlege, commander of the most excellent order of the British Empire (CBE). "The scale and intensity of this tragedy is truly shocking, lives have been ruined."

The conditions from this independent review team were:

  • Surgeons should only undertake operations for SUI if they are appropriately trained, and only if they undertake operations regularly.

  • They report every procedure to a national database.

  • A register of operations is maintained to ensure every procedure is notified and the woman identified who has undergone the surgery.

  • Reporting of complications via Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MRHA) is linked to the register.

  • Identification and accreditation of specialist centres for SUI mesh procedures, for removal procedures and other aspects of care for those adversely affected by surgical mesh.

Campaign Group - Sling The Mesh

These implants continue to have a life changing impact for many of the women with them fitted. A recent survey by campaign group Sling The Mesh show that "one in 20 women have attempted suicide and more than half have regular suicidal thoughts because of chronic pain, loss of sex life, constant infections and autoimmune disease."

The Governments Response

Labour MP Owen Smith chairs a cross-party group of MPs regarding the surgical mesh implants. He spoke to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, where he stated that "the updated guidelines appear to disregard mesh-injured women's experiences by stating that there is no long-term evidence of adverse effects."

The group continues to campaign for the continued suspension of the vaginal mesh until the full independent review is published later in 2019.

What Should I Do if I Have an Implant?

If you have a vaginal mesh implant that you are concerned about, speak to the medical team that performed your operation where possible or speak to your GP if this is not possible.

To read the next installment on this mesh saga click here

Read the previous article on the Mesh Saga in UK here


Original article: Kegel8 Website

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