News

Hopes mesh implant ban will be extended

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

HERNIA Mesh NI's Sean McGrath is hoping the vaginal mesh implant ban is extended to put a stop to all procedures using the material.
The Newry man has been left in chronic pain since October 2016 since a mesh implant was inserted following a hernia operation. His problems have become so bad that he was forced to retire for medical purposes earlier this year.
The material is the NHS's "recommended method" for treating hernias and is used on tens of thousands of patients every year.
For the majority, hernia operations are successful, but they can leave patients with major difficulties.
A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue pokes through a gap where muscle has weakened. It most commonly takes place in the groin.
The use of mesh involves pushing bulging tissue back into the abdomen and covering it with the material, and can be delivered via open or keyhole surgery.
Last October, those suffering from the side effects of mesh surgery were calling on the government to intervene and ban the use of the implants.
Since then the Department of Health has temporarily banned the use of vaginal mesh and Mr McGrath explained that Hernia Mesh NI, the group he set up last year to help people speak out on the issue, are still fighting to have the material banned from all procedures.
“I know it's only for vaginal mesh at the minute but I totally welcome the ban," he said.
“Our group, Herna Mesh NI, are still fighting to get the ban extended for all mesh repairs. We're still waiting on the Southern Trust and the Belfast Trust getting back to us.
“We still have the backing from all political parties because we have met them all now. A few weeks ago a group of us met Sinn Fein's Órlaithí Flynn [Belfast West MLA] and she was appalled at the way we have been treated and the fact that they're still using this, despite all the people that have come forward saying the problems they have.
“It's very stressful because financially it's just a disaster and medically it affects your mental health because it wrecks your head."
Meanwhile, former South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has also welcomed the temporary ban on vaginal mesh implants.
Ms Ritchie tabled a motion in Parliament urging an end to the use of mesh implants and it gained cross-party support.
“Away back in 2015/2016, I was approached by female residents in south Down regarding the pain and discomfort they had and were continuing to suffer as a result of the insertion of mesh implants to correct urinary incontinence," she said.
“This campaign to end such implants gained momentum last year when campaigning groups were formed and MPs continued to lobby for an end to their use.
“The women also had medical support for their campaign from a consultant in London.
“Eventually, the NHS in England issued a statement two weeks ago banning their use followed by a statement from the Department of Health in Belfast imposing a ban on their use in Northern Ireland.
“I would hope that the temporary ban on the use of mesh implants could become permanent."

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