Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services
Members will be aware that I commissioned a Task and Finish Group to provide advice on the use of synthetic mesh tape and sheets for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. This followed the serious and life changing complications experienced by some women who had undergone the procedures in the UK, including Wales.
I am pleased to inform you that I have now received their report which I am publishing today.
The group was chaired by Professor Simon Emery from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board and was made up of clinicians and academics in the area of uro-gynaecology, colorectal surgery, primary care, independent healthcare, physiotherapy, continence and pain management. Patient representatives chose not to join the group but I have met with representatives of the Welsh Mesh Survivors Group and information they chose to share with me was forwarded for full consideration by the group.
The group met between October and January 2018 and considered the experiences of women in Wales, the Welsh data available at the time, and the position of medical device regulators and governments in the UK and around the world.
The group considered in detail the care currently provided for women in Wales with stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse and have made several recommendations on how this could be improved particularly in the areas of preventative strategies and conservative management in the community with surgery as a last resort. The group has also advised on support and care arrangements for those with problems following surgery.
It is also recognised that improvements in data capture of these procedures is needed. This includes better information on the procedures undertaken, the devices used and the reporting of any complications. Advice has also been provided on the patient information required to improve clinical decision making and ensure a more robust, fully informed consent process.
I will make an Oral Statement next Tuesday, 8th May, when I shall go through the report’s key findings and the actions I consider necessary to implement its recommendations.