'Patient safety must never be swept under the carpet ever again' MP Sharon Hodgson calls for action on health review's findings

Action must be taken on a report which found thousands of women could have been spared excruciating pain caused by mesh implants says a Wearside MP as she called on a review’s recommendations to be taken on board.

Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 4:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th July 2020, 4:10 pm
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West.

Sharon Hodgson, who represents Washington and Sunderland West, has today called on the Government to accept all nine of the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

The review, chaired by Baroness Cumberlege, examined how the healthcare system in England responds to reports about harmful side effects from medicines and medical devices, in particular: pelvic mesh implants, hormone pregnancy tests, such as Primodos, and sodium valproate.

The research has been published today, Wednesday, July 8, and recommends the Government immediately apologise on behalf of the healthcare system to the families affected by such treatments; the appointment of a patient safety commissioner and a central patient-identifiable database to collect key details of the implantation of all devices at the time of operation.

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A photo shared by Kath Sansom, founder of the campaign group Sling The Mesh of a surgical mesh kit, as the review into their use was published. Kath Sansom/PA Wire.

Mrs Hodgson, a former Shadow Minister for Public Health, has been working with and supporting patients and campaign groups on these issues for many years.

She said: “I have heard of the devastating and heart-breaking affects mesh, Primodos and sodium valproate have had on patients and their families, and I know first-hand the impact mesh has had on patients as my own Mam has been badly affected.

“Patients and their families have fought tirelessly for years to get the recognition and acknowledgement that they have today, thanks to the publication of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

“I now call on the Government to accept and implement all of these recommendations as a matter of urgency.

“Patient safety must never be swept under the carpet ever again.”

The review was announced in February 2018 by then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as a result of patient-led campaigns and looked into how the health system responds to reports from patients about harmful side effects from medicines and medical devices.

The report has concluded thousands of women could have been spared complications from mesh surgery, which was used in pelvis surgery for 20 years, with some patients not made aware they were being fitted with mesh at all.

Women told the review team of "excruciating chronic pain feeling like razors inside their body, damage to organs, the loss of mobility and sex life and depression and suicidal thoughts".

A number of mesh-injured women said their doctors, surgeons or GPs "ignored or dismissed" their concerns, while an issue about “missing or altered medical records” was also raised.

The review team have made a series of recommendations - including that pelvic floor education should be taught in schools, and antenatal classes, while it has said those affected should be given an apology and support given those who have suffered avoidable harm – but stopped short of recommending an outright ban.

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