I thank Mr Carlaw for that.
It is disappointing that Mr Slater cannot give evidence, although that is perfectly understandable, given the weather conditions in the US at the moment.
We know that, since the cabinet secretary announced his alleged suspension of the use of mesh, it is still being fitted inside the bodies of women in Scotland, but that is now called a clinical trial. Since then, we have also witnessed multimillion-pound compensation settlements being paid out to several people, with thousands more sitting in the pipeline. A range of other issues are related to the on-going scandal, on matters such as the ethics of how medical trials work, the involvement of professionals in those trials and the people who sit on the review bodies. There is a tangled web of issues that we have to unravel.
If we are going to get all that out in the open—and out in the open it must come—it is up to the Parliament to do that. Whether that is through a Public Petitions Committee inquiry—I have never sat on the committee, so I do not know whether that is within its remit—by asking the Health and Sport Committee to hold an inquiry or by having a committee debate in the Parliament, something has to happen to allow us to debate all the complex issues that relate to the case.
Mr Slater used a powerful analogy in the Sunday Mail at the weekend. He said:
“Politicians wouldn’t allow a car on the road if one in 10 crashed and injured people.”
For nine out of 10 people driving those cars, the benefit outweighs the risk, but one in 10 could crash the car and end their life or dramatically change it. Are we going to allow that to continue to happen in Scotland, when we know what has happened across the US and the world?
I am happy to come back to the committee and I am keen to hear Mr Slater’s evidence, but my appeal is that the committee makes a decision very soon as to how it wants to proceed and whether to bring the issue to the Parliament or have a more in-depth inquiry. Every day that we delay, the potential is that another woman’s life is ruined.