Mesh victims to receive £1k from Scottish Government

Women who have suffered health complications as a result of mesh implants are to receive a £1000 payment from the Scottish Government.

Jeane Freeman has announced a £1m fund for women who have suffered mesh complications.
Jeane Freeman has announced a £1m fund for women who have suffered mesh complications.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced a year-long £1 million fund to help support women with transvaginal mesh complications.

More than 20,000 women in Scotland have had the mesh implants in the past 20 years but some have suffered painful and debilitating complications, in what has been described by politicians as “the greatest health scandal of our times”.

As a result, those women, who had implant procedures carried out by or on behalf of a Scottish health board, can now receive a one-off payment of £1,000 towards costs associated with emotional or practical support.

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The Scottish Government said the scheme was not “compensation for any perceived wrongdoing by the NHS” and did not replace Department of Work and Pensions benefits for anyone who is unable to work as a result of their condition.

The financial support comes after the Health and Social Care Alliance asked many of the affected women how they thought the fund should be allocated, the majority view being that each should be offered the same amount with no means testing.

Ms Freeman said: “We have listened carefully to the views and experiences of the women affected when setting up this fund.

“We have made the application process as simple and straightforward as possible and hope the fund will help those who experienced hardship as a result of the complications caused by mesh implants.

“We recognise the physical and emotional effects that mesh complications have had on women and we have already taken strong and decisive action, including halting the use of transvaginal mesh, developing a case note review and establishing a Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service.”

Nicola Sturgeon has previously issued a formal apology on behalf of the Scottish Government to the thousands of women across Scotland who suffered as a result of having mesh implants.

In September 2018 the Health Secretary ordered a halt to use of transvaginal mesh in Scotland and has said there is no prospect of transvaginal mesh being reintroduced.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who has campaigned with the affected women for increased support and an end to mesh operations, said he was “pleased that my call for a fund to support Scottish mesh survivors has been accepted and the affected women can now apply for financial help of £1,000. This will provide some help for them in managing the impact of mesh on their daily lives."

SNp MSP Alex Neill, who has also campaigned for the women, added: “This announcement is an important step towards improving the lives of some of the women who have suffered from the devastating effects of mesh implants.

“Mesh complications have physically and emotionally impacted those affected, as well as their families, and I hope that this £1 million fund will help to alleviate some of that suffering.“This move to support the women affected by mesh complications will be welcomed by sufferers, campaigners and politicians alike.”

Run by NHS National Services Scotland, the new fund will open in July and more information on precise eligibility criteria and how to apply will be published in June.

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