I have been consistently clear that the complete halt to transvaginal mesh procedures, which I announced last September, will be lifted only if a high-vigilance restricted use protocol is developed to my satisfaction. I have not instructed any planning to consider the lifting of that halt and the Scottish Government has undertaken no work to that effect.
I warmly welcome the news that US surgeon Dr Veronikis might come to Scotland to help mesh-injured women. I thank the Scottish mesh survivors, the
Sunday Post and the parliamentarians who have kept up the pressure on the issue.
In the interests of transparency, can the cabinet secretary ensure that all the minutes of the accountable officer short-life working group and the short-life working group on mesh complications are published today, so that we can clearly see what has been discussed at the groups and whether they are planning for the return of mesh?
As I have made clear to Mr Findlay, whether mesh ever returns will be my decision as cabinet secretary. I have been clear in the chamber that I have not instructed any work to plan for it to return and I have not had any work undertaken by the Scottish Government to plan for it to return. It is vitally important that, in the chamber and elsewhere, we are crystal clear on that and that we do not cause further distress to those who would be affected by incorrect information.
Neil Findlay referred to the minutes of the two groups. The short-life working group that I established following a meeting in March with some of the women who are affected by mesh complications published the minutes of its first meeting today. Subsequent minutes will be published when the group approves the minutes. That also applies to the one meeting of the other group, which was set up following my statement in September to look at the high-vigilance protocol and the work in relation to the audit that I committed to have undertaken. That group also has to approve its minutes before they are published. When all that is done, it will all—including declarations of interest—be published on the Government’s website.