HEALTH secretary Shona Robison told MSPs that she is “happy to apologise” to patients harmed by mesh implant surgery, stating that they should never have had to run a campaign to get their concerns listened to about the controversial procedures.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay asked whether the medical establishment should say sorry to women affected by the procedures, carried out by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women.
I am very happy to apologise to women for them having to basically have the campaign they’ve had to have to bring it to everybody’s attentionShona Robison
Mr Findlay, speaking at Holyrood’s public petitions committee, said that the women, who have suffered infections, bleeding and ongoing abdominal pain following the surgery, were not believed while the word of senior medics had been accepted.
However, Ms Robison apologised for the fact that women have had to run a high-profile campaign to have their voices heard just days after an independent review expressed “serious concerns that some women who had adverse events found they were not believed”.
Mr Findlay said: “One of the issues throughout this has been that the medical establishment has had a real willingness to believe those who said that this was a fantastic procedure and product, and a real unwillingness to believe those who said they had problems.
“Do you think someone, and I’m not necessarily saying it’s you, do you think someone should apologise to those women who were not believed?”
Ms Robison said: “I am very happy to apologise to women for them having to basically have the campaign they’ve had to have to bring it to everybody’s attention.
“It should never have taken women having to campaign in this way to shine a light on an issue and as I said in my opening remarks I want to thank them for all that they’ve done.”
The apology was reinforced by Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood, who told the committee: “I would reiterate the apology that the cabinet secretary has said to the women behind me here ... but also to the other women who aren’t here but who have been part of this campaign.”
Elaine Holmes and Olive McIlroy, from the Scottish Mesh Survivors Hear Our Voice group, said the apology had been “most welcome”.