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Found 79 results
  1. News Article
    A trust’s main maternity unit has been rated “inadequate” and given a warning notice amid concerns delayed Caesarean sections are causing harm to babies. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) told Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust to make significant improvements in how quickly it carries out emergency C-sections, the regulator said in a report today. The trust was also told to improve risk management, governance and oversight of services at its Tunbridge Wells Hospital. Inspectors found between April and July last year, 42% of “category 1” emergency Caesareans – defined as those posing an immediate threat to the life of the woman or foetus — at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital were delayed. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says these should be carried out “as soon as possible and in most situations within 30 minutes of making the decision”. The report identified “ongoing recurrent delays” to emergency Caesareans overnight, as the trusts did not have a second theatre available. This “meant an increased risk of harm, including cases reported by the service such as babies with ‘acute foetal hypoxia’ had emerged due to delayed births”, the inspection report said. It also criticised the trust for not responding to a high level of post-partum haemorrhages, some of which had caused “moderate” harm. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 16 February 2024
  2. Content Article
    Antonio Gonzalez speaks to Susan Standford for the Yale Anesthesiology podcast on intraoperative pain. Susanna is a patient who experienced intraoperative pain, and knowing she was not alone, she has actively raised awareness of this issue. In her own words, “Being able to feel major abdominal surgery is every bit as horrific as it sounds.” They discuss neuraxial anaesthesia for CS, guidance on testing and managing blocks, women being labelled ‘anxious’, outcome measures and targets.
  3. Content Article
    The 2021 UK NHS Getting It Right First Time report recommended that a significant proportion of native tissue vaginal prolapse operations should be undertaken as day-case procedures. The evidence for perioperative care, options for anaesthesia and outcomes of day-case vaginal prolapse surgery is limited. This study aimed to establish current practice amongst UK gynaecologists and explore perceived barriers to implementing day-case surgery for pelvic organ prolapse.
  4. News Article
    At least 137,000 women in the UK live with the painful and traumatic consequences of cutting, but there is no provision for reconstructive surgery. In May 2023, Shamsa Araweelo was in the A&E department of a London hospital in excruciating pain. It wasn’t the first time she had sought urgent treatment for the gynaecological damage caused by the female genital mutilation (FGM), or cutting, forced on her as a six-year-old. In fact, this was one of many such visits to emergency departments that Araweelo had made in her desperate attempt to find a surgeon who could help undo the damage done to her as a child and which has caused her so much pain and trauma as an adult. Araweelo says that in A&E she was told that she had severe nerve damage and that it could be reversed through reconstructive surgery. But not in the UK. “No doctor in the country will touch you, because you are an FGM survivor,” Araweelo says she was told. “I felt no compassion, no respect. Only in London did they tell me they wished they had the appropriate training to help me, and it breaks my heart. We are not valued in the UK.” Current NHS rules state that if a health practitioner suspects a patient has been cut, they must report the case to the police and complete a safeguarding risk assessment to determine whether a social care referral is required. Guidance for GPs also recommends referrals for mental health issues related to FGM or referrals to uro-gynaecological specialist clinics. Araweelo says that in all the years she has sought help she has never been offered any kind of support from medical professionals. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 21 December 2023
  5. News Article
    A woman who suffered traumatic complications from a vaginal mesh implant has been awarded a record settlement of at least £1m from the NHS. Yvette Greenway-Mansfield, 59, was given a mesh implant at Coventry’s University Hospital in 2009 and went on to suffer serious complications. Her medical negligence claim against the hospital trust found that the surgery was carried out prematurely and unnecessarily and that her consent form had been doctored to include additional risks after Greenway-Mansfield had signed it. Greenway-Mansfield said that being awarded the compensation was a “huge relief”, but added that many other women who have suffered similar damage had received little or no compensation, and criticised the government’s failure to establish a financial redress agency for victims. “I’m not the only one. There are thousands of mes,” she said. “There should be a pot of money to provide damages for these women and a care plan in place as an automatic response to mesh-damaged people. It comes down to a perception of women and women’s health problems. We’ve all had enough of it.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 13 November 2023
  6. Content Article
    “Almost every Gynecologic surgeon I know has a story about being told that they were wasting their talent". It was this tweet from US-based gynaecology surgeon Jocelyn Fitzgerald that caught my eye a few months ago. I’m passionate about women’s health and immediately wanted to find out more about how this translated in terms of patient safety. So, in August we met, and Dr. Fitzgerald explained some of the barriers and challenges she faces in delivering safe and equitable care. 
  7. Content Article
    NHS England is undertaking an audit of NHS specialised hospital services for patients with complications of mesh inserted for urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse (Mesh Centres) and would like to hear from women who have had Mesh implanted. They'd like to hear from women who have had, or have considered having treatment for their Mesh complications, both surgical (mesh removal) and non-surgical treatment (including physiotherapy and pain management, for example). As part of the audit, Sally Cavanagh who works for NHS England was asked to team up with Kath Sansom from Sling The Mesh and Paula Goss from Rectopexy Mesh Victims & Support, to develop the survey. It is designed to capture feedback about how women reached the decision to seek, or not seek surgical Mesh removal, how they made their treatment decision and their experiences with health services and health staff involved in their treatment for complications of Mesh. The deadline to submit the survey is midnight Wednesday 11 October 2023.
  8. Content Article
    In this blog, Sling the Mesh founder Kath Sansom highlights the variation in medical treatment depending on where you live in the world. Describing patient safety advocacy as "like a giant game of chess—but a hideous version where innocent people get hurt," she describes recent developments in the use of pelvic mesh globally. New Zealand recently suspended the use of a particular type of pelvic mesh at the same time as a Canadian study recommended its use for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Kath gives a brief history of mesh sling suspension and argues that patient safety needs joined up thinking to protect women around the world.
  9. Content Article
    This is part of our series of Patient Safety Spotlight interviews, where we talk to people working for patient safety about their role and what motivates them.  Kath talks to us about why she set up Sling the Mesh and the significant impact that campaigning has on her life. She also highlights the need to establish systems that will identify and prevent avoidable harm, including long term tracking to investigate trends of harm, reporting of industry payments to clinicians and making logging side effects mandatory for healthcare professionals.
  10. News Article
    The use of surgical mesh to treat a common childbirth injury is now suspended in New Zealand because of safety concerns. The extraordinary step, which follows a similar move in the United Kingdom, was announced today by Te Whatu Ora. It is being celebrated by a woman who spearheaded a campaign to highlight the harrowing mesh injuries suffered by her and many other Kiwi women. “It is an acknowledgement that their concerns were not just in their heads,” Sally Walker told the Herald. “It will give us some hope.” About 100 women around the country who are on waiting lists for urogynaecological surgeries involving mesh are being contacted by doctors to tell them their operations for stress urinary incontinence are on hold. The Director-General of Health Dr Diana Sarfati said the Surgical Mesh Roundtable (MRT), an oversight and monitoring group chaired by the Ministry of Health, had been investigating a “pause” since earlier this year. The group’s assessment was that the balance of benefit and harm from the procedure would be improved by the series of additional measures already planned, and it recommended a pause until those measures were substantively in place. “After considering the MRT’s assessment, I have decided to support a pause to allow the following steps to be put in place to reduce the harms linked to the procedure as much as possible,” said Sarfati. Read full story Source: NZ Herald, 22 August 2023
  11. News Article
    More than 200 women were harmed when a rogue surgeon carried out operations on them unnecessarily, an NHS inquiry has found. Some of the women were left with life-changing physical problems or unable to work, while many also suffered trauma and serious psychological harm as a result. Overall, 203 women on whom Anthony Dixon performed procedures between 2007 and 2017 came to harm, according to a review by the North Bristol NHS trust (NBT). Dixon, who for years was Britain’s most influential pelvic surgeon, worked for both the trust and the private Spire hospital in the city. In 2017, NBT launched a review of Dixon’s performance and suspended him after dozens of women he had performed procedures on complained that they had experienced appalling consequences, including unmanageable pain and incontinence. The Guardian revealed in late 2017 that 100 women were suing him for medical negligence. Some cases have since been settled, but dozens are ongoing. NBT sacked Dixon in 2019 and he is currently banned from practising in the UK. During the review, 378 women were recalled and asked to set out their dealings with Dixon. All had undergone a procedure called laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR), in which plastic mesh is inserted to repair weakened tissue in the pelvic floor. In papers presented to NBT’s board on Thursday, board members were told that the inquiry had concluded. “The trust has notified 203 NHS patients that, although their LVMR operation was carried out satisfactorily, they should have been offered alternative treatments before proceeding to surgery. We have defined these patients as suffering ‘harm’ as a result,” it said. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 26 May 2022
  12. News Article
    It has been nine years living “like a prisoner” in “excruciating” pain and Kate is still facing a wait for surgery to tackle the horrifying mistakes in her postnatal care. Despite a difficult birth at Leeds General Hospital, Kate described the atmosphere at the trust’s labour ward as “lovely”. However, her experience quickly deteriorated into “hell” after she was told she had third-degree tears and was admitted to a postnatal ward, describing the care she received as “awful”. A few days following her discharge, which occurred before she’d had a bowel movement, Kate said she was left “screaming in pain” at home, “bleeding a lot from the back passage” and “incontinent”. Despite reporting these symptoms to the maternity department, Kate was told it was a “normal” experience. “I felt like nobody was listening to me,” Kate said. After six months, living in “intense pain”, with “flooding diarrhoea” and not able to leave the house, she was told by the NHS her symptoms were down to postnatal depression. She was referred to a colorectal surgeon, who found her anal sphincter was “fully open almost as if it wasn’t ever stitched”. Following an operation in 2015 to fix the issue, Kate developed sepsis, nearly losing her life and meaning it took 18 weeks for her wound to heal. However, her ordeal did not stop there. She had developed nerve damage, chronic pelvic pain, incontinence, coxalgia and a prolapse as a result of her problems being neglected for so long. By 2022, nine years later, she is now waiting for a colostomy bag operation – the only option to address her pain. Kate told The Independent: “Everywhere I go I have to plan the full day. I need to know where the toilets are. I don’t go out of the house. I’ve felt like a prisoner in my own home for nine years. “It makes me so emotional thinking about everything they have put me through. It hasn’t just affected my life, it’s also affected my partner and family. I have lost so much time that I’ll never get back. I couldn’t enjoy life and do the things that all mothers do with their babies. “There was no care, no sympathy, nothing. Nobody cared for me apart from my surgeon at Sheffield. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel normal. I can’t remember life without pain." Read full story Source: The Independent, 13 March 2022
  13. News Article
    The NHS has abandoned targets that encouraged hospitals to pursue “normal births”, over fears for the safety of mothers and babies. Maternity units were told in a letter to stop using caesarean section rates to assess their performance. It comes after repeated scandals in maternity units, blamed in part on a focus on pursuing natural births at the expense of safety. The letter from Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, NHS England’s chief midwife, and Dr Matthew Jolly, the national clinical director for maternity, instructed “all maternity services to stop using total caesarean section rates as a means of performance management”. It added: “We are concerned by the potential for services to pursue targets that may be clinically inappropriate and unsafe in individual cases." A final report into the deaths of dozens of babies at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust will be published next month. It is expected to be highly critical. The midwife leading the inquiry, Donna Ockenden, has said women “felt pressured to have a normal birth” at the trust, adding: “There was a multi-professional, not midwife-led, focus on normal birth pretty much at any cost.” Hayley Coates, 29, lost her son Kaylan after staff at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust ignored her pleas for a caesarean section in March 2018. A coroner ruled that neglect contributed to Kaylan’s death. He suffered a fractured skull when he was delivered with forceps and was starved of oxygen. Coates, a mother of three, said she welcomed the NHS England letter, adding: “I was just ignored when I asked multiple times for a caesarean section. I was told repeatedly: ‘You will have this baby naturally, you don’t want to go to theatre.’ If I had gone to theatre many hours before, my baby wouldn’t have died. They have a duty of care, and the mother’s wishes are supposed to be priority.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 20 February 2022
  14. News Article
    Over 50 new surgical hubs will open across the country to help bust the Covid-19 backlogs and offer hundreds of thousands more patients quicker access to vital procedures, Steve Barclay, has announced. These hubs will provide at least 100 more operating theatres and over 1,000 beds so people get the surgery they need. And they will deliver almost two million extra routine operations to reduce waiting lists over the next three years, backed by £1.5billion in government funding. They will focus mainly on providing high-volume, low-complexity surgery, as previously recommended by the Royal College of Surgeons of England, with particular emphasis on ophthalmology, general surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, gynaecology, ear nose and throat, and urology. Located on existing hospital sites, the surgical hubs will bring together skills and expertise of staff under one roof – reducing waiting times for some of the most-common procedures such as cataract surgeries and hip replacements. Improving quality and efficiency will mean patients have shorter waits for surgery, will be more likely to go home on the same day, and will be less likely to need additional treatment. And, as the hubs are separated from emergency services, surgical beds are kept free for patients waiting for planned operations, reducing the risk of short-notice cancellations and improving infection control. Read full story Source: Building Better Healthcare, 5 September 2022
  15. News Article
    Kath Sansom, a former journalist from Lynn is raising awareness about the potential risks associated with vaginal and rectal mesh surgery. Mesh implant surgery is used to treat prolapse and incontinence in women usually following childbirth, and some men have also had the procedure. But pain and complications after the implants have left hundreds of people in the UK in pain and so a campaign in 2015 was launched which has led to the Government announcing a suspension in the use of vaginal mesh. Kath initiated the Sling The Mesh campaign in 2015 following her own experience of mesh surgery. She said: "What is most important to women is financial redress. We are all innocent and have had our health and lives compromised. We shouldn't have to wait 40 years, as the victims of contaminated blood have. Some women are in wheelchairs and have lost pensions. I am not the woman that I was. It has taken a financial, physical and emotional toll." Read full story Source: Lynn News (24 August 2022)
  16. News Article
    At 34 years old, Dawn Jaxson had two young daughters. Since going through childbirth she had been experiencing a prolapsed bladder and urinary incontinence. Her doctors recommended she have a vaginal mesh fitted to treat the problem, and she didn’t question their advice. But more than 15 years later, she wishes she had. “As soon as I’d actually had it fitted, I felt discomfort,” says Jaxson, now 50. “Then the pain just didn’t go.” After years of almost constant pelvic pain and “countless” medical appointments, Jaxson says: “This little tiny piece of tape is still ruining my life.” “I can literally be sat down and then out of nowhere, it will be like somebody is shoving a red-hot poker through my bladder,” she tells iNews. “Being intimate with somebody is just impossible. Sex is no joy. Imagine your worst period pain you could possibly have, and that’s what it’s like on a daily basis.” NHS Digital records show that between April 2008 and March 2017, 100,516 patients had a tape insertion procedure for stress urinary incontinence. A further 27,016 patients had a mesh procedure for pelvic organ prolapse. But the surgery was suspended in Scotland in 2014 and across the rest of the UK by 2018 following complaints about complications – and a review ordered. The review panel, overseen by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, spoke to more than 700 affected individuals and concluded that pelvic mesh procedures had caused “anguish, suffering, and many ruined lives”. In 2020, the panel set out nine recommendations to help the thousands of women affected, including the creation of specialist centres, so patients could have their mesh removed or receive further treatment. But two years on from that landmark report, women say they are still suffering debilitating symptoms and struggling to access the help they so desperately need. Kath Sansom, the founder of the campaigning group Sling the Mesh, has heard many similar stories from among the group’s 9,700 members. “The lack of action on financial redress is the biggest disappointment for women,” she says. “Pelvic mesh caused lifelong damage, and worse, the majority of us were not given any information on the risks. It’s not our fault this happened to us." “Some women have been left disabled in wheelchairs or walking with sticks. Others have had organs removed where mesh has turned brittle and sliced into them. Seven in 10 have lost their sex life. Everyone suffers chronic pain in varying degrees. Women have lost jobs, marriages, homes, and their quality of life.” Read full story Source: iNews, 18 August 2022
  17. News Article
    A leading colorectal surgeon whose former employer, North Bristol NHS Trust, faces negligence claims from dozens of his ex-patients has failed in his bid to keep legal action he is taking against the trust a secret. A review by the trust found that 203 women on whom the surgeon Tony Dixon performed pelvic mesh procedures between 2007 and 2017 came to harm. The trust faces legal claims from many of them. Trust board members were told in May that the trust had notified the 203 women that “although their laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy operation was carried out satisfactorily, they should have been offered alternative treatments before proceeding to surgery,” and that those patients were defined as suffering “harm.” Dixon sued the trust in the High Court to try to stop it releasing two documents to solicitors acting for ex-patients, as part of the disclosure process in litigation. Read full story (paywalled) Source: BMJ, 27 July 2022
  18. News Article
    The Scottish government has signed a contract to allow NHS patients to visit a US expert for mesh removal surgery. Patients can book appointments with Dr Dionysios Veronikis in Missouri with their travel and accommodation costs paid for by the NHS. The cost of each procedure is estimated to be £16,000 to £23,000. Transvaginal implant use was stopped in Scotland after hundreds of women were left with painful, life-changing side effects. NHS National Services Scotland said it would work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and local health boards to take forward arrangements for those who wish to travel to the US for the procedure. Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "I fully understand that women want mesh removal surgery undertaken by surgeons who enjoy their full confidence and a range of measures are now in place to ensure this happens. "I am determined to ensure that those with mesh complications get the treatment they want and need." Read full story Source: BBC News, 12 July 2022
  19. News Article
    Women who underwent damaging surgery in Irish hospitals have accused health authorities of dragging them into a "nightmare" of "gaslighting, ignorance and disrespect". Having had vaginal mesh implants, the women told an Oireachtas committee that they were "maimed" and then led on "a fool's errand" when they sought support from the HSE. The Health Committee heard from members of Mesh Ireland and Mesh Survivors Ireland who represent around 750 women. While the HSE said that it would be "extremely difficult" to provide accurate figures, it estimates that around 10,000 women had this surgery in Ireland. More than one in ten have suffered complications, Dr Cliona Murphy, Clinical Lead for the National Women and Infants Health Programme, revealed. Mary McLaughlin, Mesh Ireland, said that at one point, "I lay in bed 16 hours a day", because of the pain she was in. She demanded dignity and respect for survivors in the face of this "global scandal". The women are calling for access to a US-based expert in complete mesh removal, to mirror schemes in Scotland and the Canadian state of Quebec. Read full story Source: RTE, 29 March 2022
  20. News Article
    Sam Hindle has 23cm of polypropylene mesh in her body and lives in constant fear that it will become unstable and cause irreversible damage. "You are in your own Battle Royale, strapped to a time bomb, and thinking when is it going to go off," she told the BBC. Sam, 46, is one of hundreds of women in Scotland who have suffered life-changing symptoms since they had a transvaginal mesh implant. After years of campaigning by the women, the Scottish government has promised it will cover the costs of mesh removal at private clinics in the UK and US. But Sam has been waiting more than two years just for a referral to the Complex Mesh Surgical Service in Glasgow to start the process. The Scottish government announced last year that it had signed a contract to allow NHS patients to visit a US expert for mesh removal surgery The contract with Gynaecologic and Reconstructive Surgery of Missouri, where Dr Dionysios Veronikis operates, follows a similar contract agreed with Spire Healthcare in Bristol. The cost of each removal procedure is estimated to be £16,000 to £23,000. But in order to access such treatment, women have to be assessed by the national service in Glasgow. Women like Sam say there are waiting years to just get referred for assessment. With further delays for appointments and then waits for surgery. Read full story Source: BBC News, 2 March 2023
  21. News Article
    Mesh campaigners claim Scotland's Health Secretary Humza Yousaf refused to meet them to hear their concerns. Patients blame surgical mesh products for leaving them disabled and in chronic pain and want the Scottish Government to hold an independent review into the use of the products. However, followihttps://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/mesh-campaigners-claim-humza-yousaf-29075491ng a debate in the Scottish Parliament earlier this month, the Health Secretary denied their request. Campaigner Roseanna Clarkin, of the Scottish Global Mesh Alliance, said Yousaf has refused several requests for meetings with campaigners spanning nearly two years. Roseanna, who has been left with crippling pain after mesh was used on her umbilical hernia in 2015, has blasted him for “ignoring” those affected by mesh procedures. From the late 90s until 2018, women in Scotland were treated with polypropylene mesh implants for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. In some, it caused severe pain and life-changing side effects. While the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review called for a pause in use of vaginal mesh, the products are not banned for all procedures. The Scottish Global Mesh Alliance were behind the petition calling for an independent review which was debated at Holyrood. They want to suspend the use of all surgical mesh and fixation devices while a review is carried out. Roseanna said: “Why do they assume mesh in another part of the body would respond differently and not cause extreme pain and serious infections?” Read full story Source: Daily Record, 29 January 2023
  22. News Article
    Women who underwent mesh surgery were not given accurate information before the life-altering procedure, a case review has found. The study also said poor communication between patients and doctors led, in some cases, to mistrust. Medical notes were often misleading or did not detail the surgery that had occurred or its outcomes. The review spent two years looking at the cases of 18 women who received transvaginal mesh implants. It has now called for a comprehensive register to be set up to keep track of women who have had operations to remove mesh in Scotland, abroad and privately. The Transvaginal Mesh Case Record Review by Glasgow Caledonian University makes a series of other recommendations, including: Better aftercare following surgery Clear language so patients understand exactly what surgery is going to achieve. Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 June 2023
  23. Content Article
    Fatigue and sleep deprivation may affect healthcare professionals' skills and communication style and also may affect clinical outcomes. However, there are no current guidelines limiting the volume of deliveries and procedures performed by a single individual, or on the length of time that they can be on call. This Committee Opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) analyses research relating to fatigue and performance in healthcare professionals in order to make recommendations to doctors and managers to improve staff and patient safety.
  24. Content Article
    This paper in the journal RSC Advances aimed to track changes in chemical bonding taking place in PP meshes on the nanoscale via mechano–chemical processes. The authors used the novel and advanced spectroscopic characterisation technique secondary electron hyperspectral imaging (SEHI) to build high resolution chemical maps. Polypropylene (PP) surgical mesh is associated with serious clinical complications when used in the pelvic floor for repair of stress urinary incontinence or support of pelvic organ prolapse. While manufacturers claim that the material is inert and non-degradable, there is a growing body of evidence that asserts PP fibres are subject to oxidative damage. Material surgically removed from patients suffering with clinical complications has shown some evidence of fibre cracking and oxidation. It has been proposed that a pathological cellular response to the surgical mesh contributes to medical complications, but the mechanisms that trigger the specific host response against the material are not well understood.  The study presented key insights into the mechano–chemistry reaction of PP which can cause polymer oxidation, changes in molecular structure, crack/craze formation and the release of etched oxidised insoluble particles. SEHI, provided a new route to link the effect of localised stresses to reactions of mechano–chemistry within PP. The method of mechanical distension testing during hydrogen peroxide exposure followed SEHI image analysis could form the basis of an “early warning” system which has the ability to identify materials which are not appropriate for use as medical implants.
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