Scottish mesh patients can have corrective surgery in US and England

Women who require the surgical removal of mesh implants will be able to receive free treatment from specialists in America and England.

The Scottish government announced it had awarded contracts to Spire Health Care in Bristol and the Mercy Hospital in Missouri.

Surgery and travel costs to either clinic will be covered.

Implant use was stopped in Scotland after hundreds of women were left with painful, life-changing side effects.

The cost of each procedure is estimated to be £16,000 to £23,000.

  • Scottish government to reimburse removal surgery cost
  • National mesh removal service to be introduced in Scotland
  • Mesh implant women to receive £1,000 payments
  • Claim of ‘professional conspiracy’ against US mesh surgeon

Last month the government announced that women who have already paid to have mesh removed privately would be reimbursed under the Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill.

Women who have travelled abroad or to other parts of the UK to have private surgery are eligible to apply.

“That is why we are absolutely determined to ensure those with mesh complications get the treatment that they want and need.”

What are mesh implants?




  • The mesh, usually made from synthetic polypropylene, is intended to repair damaged or weakened tissue
  • Over 20 years, more than 100,000 women across the UK had transvaginal mesh implants, which are used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), often after childbirth
  • While the vast majority suffer no side effects, the use of mesh in Scotland was suspended except in “exceptional circumstances” in 2014 after it emerged some women suffered painful side effects
  • Use of the procedure was halted in 2018
  • Once the mesh is implanted, it is very difficult to remove




‘Pain and suffering’

Mesh implants have been used to treat conditions some women suffer after childbirth, such as incontinence and prolapse.

Women who complained about side effects from the procedure previously told the BBC they often had their concerns dismissed as being “women’s problems”.

The contracts awarded for future removal surgeries outside Scotland are expected to start later this summer.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “While mesh removal surgery is available within Scotland on the NHS, these are alternative options for those who feel unable to be treated in Scotland.

“We recognise the pain and suffering of women who have been impacted by complications as a result of transvaginal mesh implants.

“That is why we are absolutely determined to ensure those with mesh complications get the treatment that they want and need.”

Last year the government launched a £1.3m national removal service based in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which it said it is continuing to develop.

However it added any woman who expresses a preference to be treated outside Scotland can request a referral to one of the NHS England specialist centres.

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