The five women are among more than 400 people pursuing mesh claims with Thompsons Solicitors.
On International Mesh Awareness Day (Saturday 1 May), a group of mesh-injured women are calling on the government to provide a full response to the nine recommendations made into patient safety as part of an independent inquiry last year.
Bonita Barrett (46), Chloe Thurston (22), Claire Griffiths (38), Jacqui Shaw (54) and Paula Goss (51), whose lives have been devastated by mesh, are urging the government to provide a “full and frank” update on how they have responded to the First Do No Harm report, which was published almost a year ago in July 2020.
The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review team, led by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, published the report which examined how the healthcare system responded to three medical interventions, including surgical mesh. It made nine recommendations to improve patient safety after it found women who were “not being listened to or believed led to emergencies, misdiagnosis and years of unnecessary pain.”
In January, the Minister of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety, Nadine Dorries, provided a response to each of the recommendations made in the report – but many areas were still under consideration leaving many unanswered questions.
Paula Goss, from Bristol, had mesh surgery on her wedding anniversary in 2014. The operation was to treat a prolapse and despite being assured that it was a risk-free five-star treatment, she has been in excruciating pain ever since.
Paula Goss, our mesh injury client
She said: “The government’s response to the recommendations so far is just lip service. Where is the patient safety commissioner who was promised? Where is the evidence that the database, which apparently has been set up for nearly a year, is operating effectively for patients? Meanwhile, the dedicated mesh treatment centres that were supposed to be opening from 1 April will only treat vaginal mesh-injured people - what about those with rectal or hernia mesh, which affects men and children too? Yet again, having gone through the motions, we the patients have been ignored. It is a scandal within a scandal.
“The government must urgently provide a full and frank update on the status of the remaining recommendations and implement the proposed changes immediately. I don’t want promises, I want concrete measurable action.”
Among the nine recommendations made in the First Do No Harm Report was to appoint an independent patient safety commissioner, overhaul the regulator of medicines and medical devices (the MHRA), establish regional specialist centres and set up a task force to implement all of the report’s recommendations and strengthen the patients’ voice.
The mesh-injured women are just five of more than 400 people being represented by social justice law firm, Thompsons Solicitors, which is pursuing mesh claims on their behalf. It is thought tens of thousands of people have been affected by mesh, maybe more, with many not knowing the cause of their pain.
So far, the government’s response is nothing more than hollow words.
Linda Millband, head of clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “So far, the government’s response is nothing more than hollow words. Only three out of nine of the recommendations have had an update of any real substance.
“The fact that the government is still “considering” the eighth recommendation, that doctors’ financial and non-pecuniary interests should be declared and publicly available, is an absolute farce, especially in light of everything we’ve seen with convicted breast surgeon, Ian Paterson.
“These recommendations were made for a reason and every day they are not implemented, is another day patients are at risk.
“It’s high time the government stops using the pandemic as an excuse for its inefficiency and callous disinterest in patient safety and fully implements recommendations that are gathering dust.”
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