Bill Esterson Member of Parliament for Sefton Central
A Labour councillor from Maghull is celebrating with campaigners after the suspension of vaginal mesh surgery in England.
Park councillor June Burns backed the fight to have the treatment halted after hearing from women whose lives had been ruined after having the treatment for prolapse and incontinence issues.
Cllr Burns submitted a motion to Sefton Council in November last year calling on the Government to suspend the treatment which she said had ruined thousands of lives.
The Government has now accepted the recommendation of a review into the safety of the mesh.
The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review came to its decision to recommend the treatment is halted after gathering initial evidence from women and their families affected by surgical mesh procedures.
Cllr Burns said: “Women have suffered terribly including women I know and those who I have met through being involved in this campaign. Everyone is delighted but this is hopefully just the start and a complete ban in England and the rest of the UK will follow.”
Cllr Burns got involved in the ‘sling the mesh’ campaign when her friend Julie Gilsenan was affected by the side-effects from the procedure, which was designed to be a ‘quick fix’ for prolapse and incontinence.
Julie and Cllr Burns visited Parliament in October last year with lead campaigner Kath Sansom to meet Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson and raise awareness of the campaign.
The trio returned to the Houses of Parliament in February this year with other campaigners to hear the issue debated in the House of Lords.
The motion passed by Sefton Council last year called for a suspension of use of the mesh, or failing that better information about the risks and follow-ups for life for women who had undergone the procedure.
Cllr Burns added: “Women have suffered terribly. Some have lost their jobs, their homes, their marriages due to the effect this has had on their sex lives. They have become isolated because they didn’t want to go anywhere due to the pain and fear of needing a toilet. This mesh can affect the bowels, bladder; women have ended up walking with sticks or in wheelchairs.
“This procedure was supposed to give them their lives back but it ended up ruining their lives.”
Mr Esterson MP commented: “This is great news for everyone involved in the campaign, particularly the women affected. Cllr Burns and Julie Gilesnan have worked tirelessly alongside campaigners to try to get this procedure banned and let’s hope this is the ultimate outcome so that no other women will suffer in the same way.”
Baroness Julia Cumberlege, who is leading the reviews, said: “We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries.”
The review into vaginal mesh was announced by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year.
Kath Sansom, founder of Sling the Mesh, has been campaigning for a suspension for more than three years.
She said: “This is incredible news and vindication for more than 6,100 members of Sling The Mesh who have been maimed by this operation and then ignored – some for years.
“Our members have written, emailed, attended parliament and lobbied to get this result and I am delighted.”
The “quick-fix” mesh operation lasts 20 minutes and involves inserting a mesh tape through the vagina to support the bladder like a sling.
The device is made out of plastic and once inside the body it can erode, stiffen and slice through neighbouring organs.
PIC (l-r): Cllr June Burns, Julie Gilesnan, Bill Esterson MP, Kath Sansom outside Parliament during their campaign to have vaginal mesh surgery suspended