Patients will be able to visit private surgeons outside of Scotland to perform mesh removal on the NHS.
This will complement the £1.3 million Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service already established in NHS Scotland and, alongside the option of referral to NHS England Centres, is intended to allow everyone affected to get the treatment and care that they need.
Contracts have been awarded to Spire Health Care in Bristol and the Mercy Hospital in Missouri America, where Dr Dionysios Veronikis performs surgery.
NHS National Services Scotland invited tenders from appropriately qualified surgeons to carry out mesh removal where patients wish it to take place outside of the NHS. Surgery and travel costs to either clinic will also be covered. The contracts are expected to start later this summer.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf MSP 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.”
The contracts are subject to agreement of, and compliance with, the terms specified by NHS National Services Scotland (NHS NSS).
As per its 2021 manifesto, the SNP Government has already put forward legislation to ensure the cost of private surgery to remove transvaginal mesh will be reimbursed.
The Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced on 23 June, will establish a scheme which will reimburse those who have paid privately to undergo mesh removal surgery.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“While we all wish transvaginal mesh complications didn’t exist, there is a duty to help survivors get the treatment they need, at no cost.
“Women across Scotland will be encouraged to see the progress. The SNP Government halted the use of transvaginal mesh in 2018, ran a £1 million reimbursement fund for women who had paid for private treatment, and set up the Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service in 2020.
“Every woman has her own, very personal experience, and it is crucial that a spectrum of options is offered for treatment. I am glad that treatment at Spire and by Dr Veronikis in Missouri have been added to the options.”
The Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GGC) has been established and is continuing to develop with patient input.
The multi-disciplinary team has been expanded to include four uro-gynaecologists and, further, any woman who expresses a preference to be treated outside of Scotland will be able to request a referral to one of the NHS England specialist centres.