The short-life working group was established after the meeting I had with women at the Scottish Parliament in March.
As has been set out in response to parliamentary questions (S5W-22523 on 1 May 2019 and S5W-23623 on 6 June 2019) the remit of the Accountable Officer short life working group, examining the present course of care for women who experience mesh complications, is to consider what additional steps could be taken to offer choice to women who want – and are clinically suitable for – removal of mesh.
The membership of this group comprises health board accountable officers, senior clinicians, and other relevant individuals. The group has held two meetings to date, and will meet for a third time tomorrow (Friday 14 June).
A recent report in the press suggested this group was formed to reinstate transvaginal mesh implants in Scotland. These reports and claims are wholly false and without foundation. I know this false report has created unnecessary distress to women who are already enduring the suffering caused by mesh complications.
I have been very clear that the complete halt to transvaginal mesh procedures, which I announced last September, would only be lifted if a high vigilance, restricted use protocol is developed to my satisfaction. At this stage I do not think there is a prospect of the halt being lifted, and I have not asked that any planning take place to consider the lifting of the halt.
The short-life working group is expected to publish its initial findings in the autumn. However, we are currently giving consideration to whether there are any improvements that can be made in the short term. I expect to be able to make a further update on this shortly.
All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .