Large numbers potentially affected by hernia mesh complications
Up to 170,000 people who have had hernia mesh implants in England in the past six years could face complications.
Hernia repairs are very common as 1 in 10 people will develop a hernia.
There have been between 90,000 and 100,000 hernia mesh operations in England each year since 2011-12.
It is believed that the complication rate is 12-30%. This means that between 68,000 and 170,000 patients could have been adversely affected in the past six years. However, the number of complications are thought to be even higher given that mesh has been used in hernia repairs
But NHS Trusts in England have no consistent policy for guidelines on treatment or follow-up with patients.
Some patients have been left unable to walk or work with others left feeling suicidal as a result of their symptoms.
Labour MP Owen Smith, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Surgical Mesh Implants, said he feared the UK could "potentially have another scandal on our hands".
He added that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), whose job it is to ensure medical devices are safe, was not doing enough to listen to the experiences of patients affected.
He also said "Companies ultimately have to take some responsibility for this. It's not good for them to give this to the NHS and then they walk away with the NHS carrying any liability."
However, the MHRA said it "not had any evidence which would lead us to alter our stance on surgical mesh for hernia repairs or other surgical procedures for which they are used".
The Royal College of Surgeons also added that mesh implants were the "most effective way" to deal with a hernia.
In contrast, Dr Ulrike Muschaweck, a leading hernia surgeon in the private sector, said she used a suture technique, instead of mesh, for most hernia operations but this method was dying out because young surgeons were rarely taught it.
Dr Suzy Elneil, Consultant Urogynaecologist, estimates that treating those with complications could costs around £25,000 per patient. This would include the removal of the mesh, a further operation to treat the hernia and follow up care afterwards.
“I am often asked to act for individuals who have suffered from “complications” as a result of hernia operations. Often these “complications” can lead to life changing consequences for my clients. It is clear that there is a difference of opinion with regards to what the best method of treatment is, but, it seems that further dialogue is needed to ensure that each patient gets best treatment they can to avoid the possibility of “complications” in the future.”
Johnathan Steventon-Kiy and the Clinical Negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients who have experienced substandard treatment or a failure to provide treatment. If you, a family member or a friend have experienced problems regarding substandard medical treatment contact our team today on 02392 483 322.
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