CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HEALTH – SURGICAL MESH – 19 April 2018

Dr Julian Lewis: The hon. Gentleman [Owen Smith] is making an excellent speech, and I thank him for his work. Will he go back to what he said a few moments ago about the idea of it being acceptable that 1% to 3% of cases might go wrong? It might be acceptable if we are dealing with a small overall total, but when we are dealing with over 100,000 cases, we are saying that it is acceptable for 1,000 to 3,000 people to suffer devastating, life-changing injuries as a result of this procedure. Surely that is anything but acceptable.

[Owen Smith: It absolutely is not acceptable. I hope that the Minister is not going to repeat what other Ministers have said in written statements and in this place, which is that 1% to 3% is the sort of failure rate, or complication rate, that one would expect with all sorts of surgery. The reality is that the numbers are far greater than that – far, far greater – as the audit this week shows. ...]

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Dr Lewis: Before those interventions, the Minister said that if people are still not getting adequate treatment, it should be brought to her attention. As I mentioned, I have been contacted by constituents saying they felt trapped because the people who did the procedures were refusing to refer them elsewhere for a second opinion and for possible help from the very small number of people who specialise in the rectification and reversal of these procedures. What advice can she give my constituents about how to break out of this restriction on being referred to people in whom they can have more confidence?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Jackie Doyle-Price): I listened carefully to my right hon. Friend’s representations on behalf of his constituents, and they filled me with alarm, because we have given a clear indication on this point and have established 18 specialist centres to deal with the consequences of mesh. There is, therefore, no excuse for patients who require further intervention not being properly referred. Perhaps he and I could take this up offline to make sure his constituents get the support they deserve.]

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]