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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S5W-23896

  • Asked by: Alex Neil, MSP for Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party
  • Date lodged: 18 June 2019
  • Current status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Jeane Freeman on 19 June 2019


To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-23747 by Jeane Freeman on 13 June 2019, what progress it has made on improvements resulting from the short-life working group on support for women with complications from transvaginal mesh.


As I outlined in S5W-23747 that while the short-life working group is expected to publish its initial findings in the autumn, I would provide an update on what improvements could be made now.

The Short Life Working group on mesh complications met for a third time last week (Friday 14 June) to examine what additional steps could be taken support women with mesh complications, including on the removal of mesh where clinically appropriate.

The group considered feedback on patient experience and care pathways. The Chair of the group has been in contact with Dr Dionysios K. Veronikis on my behalf and to obtain his agreement for specialists from Scotland to visit him and observe his expertise in his own clinic in the USA. We are also seeking to bring him to Scotland for a period of time to provide treatment, expert advice, and training. Such an arrangement would be subject to agreement and regulatory approval. As regulation in this area is reserved I have written to the UK Government’s Health Secretary and the General Medical Council (GMC) to highlight this case. The Chair of the group has already reviewed requirements and regulations stipulated by the GMC for visiting senior clinicians.

The group has also begun work to establish a national complex case review unit within the NHS in Scotland. This will be taken forward through our service design processes with a view to being established as soon as is practicable.

The group is working to enhance care pathways for patients with complications within individual boards to be enhanced, with each board tasked with setting out how this will be achieved – including the need for improved co-ordination with primary care services.

In the interim, for patients with mesh complications who have contacted the Scottish Government directly about their care I have asked that their cases be directed to the appropriate Accountable Officer within their health board area. I have been clear in my expectations the Accountable Officer will provide responses to each patient as quickly as possible and to support any woman who wishes to have a second opinion on their proposed care. Members should note that an NHS Board Accountable Officer in this regard is the Medical Director or their nominee.

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