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Number of women needing occupational therapy for vaginal mesh implants revealed

Thursday 3rd May 2018
On average, 43 in every 100 outpatient appointments for women who have undergone vaginal mesh surgery is for essential occupational therapy. Image credit: Rawpixel via iStock
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A significant number of women who have undergone vaginal mesh surgery to treat a post-childbirth prolapse or incontinence require support from an occupational therapist afterwards, new data reveals.

NHS Digital has released new figures that show some 27,016 women have had this surgery in the UK since 2008, with 211 subsequently having their mesh implant removed following complications.

The new data shows that for every 100 outpatient appointments concerning women with vaginal mesh implants, 79 are to do with gynaecological complications or associated rehabilitation, and 43 are for occupational therapy.

This therefore suggests that a large proportion of vaginal mesh recipients are left in pain or discomfort to such an extent that it impacts on other areas of their lives, including their ability to work.

Over 800 women are currently taking legal action against the NHS due to the condition they have been left in following their surgery, and campaigners against the vaginal mesh have highlighted that the full extent of the problems cannot be known, as the data does not take into account private healthcare patients.

Kath Sansom, founder of campaign group Sling the Mesh, commented: "It has not included private patients or women going to GPs for pain medication or antibiotics to treat painful urinary infections, so there are thousands not included in this data.

"This audit has no information on the devastating social and psychological impact on women. We demand a national recall urgently, before hundreds more women are maimed by mesh."

England's chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies was given a month to speak with NHS authorities and respond to the data, with her findings expected mid-May.

What's more, a further 100,000 women have had a vaginal tape implant inserted since 2008. These are usually made from the same mesh material and are designed to stop the bladder leaking, yet 2,639 have had additional surgery to have theirs removed in the past decade due to their ineffectiveness, or the fact they were left in severe discomfort.

Written by Alex Franklin Stortford

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