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First, I congratulate my hon. Friend Emma Hardy on securing this important debate. I also pay tribute to the incredible work of my hon. Friend Owen Smith, whose campaign has ensured that those women affected by mesh implants have a voice and are being listened to. They may receive some reassurance from the fact that we are debating the issue today.
I have a constituent who is suffering from the consequences of a failed mesh implant. She met me recently and explained the debilitating and life-changing effects it is having on her quality of life. She told me of her experiences of the failed procedure, which left her barely able to walk, and bedridden for three months. She spoke of the pressure that put on her family, with her children left to care for her and her husband unable to work overtime due to childcare commitments. It has prevented her children having friends over, stopped family holidays and left her disconnected from her community, being unable to walk or drive without excruciating pain. The financial burden and personal impact on her family has been immense. She described the effect on her mental health. She has uncontrollable mood swings, angry outbursts and frustration at not being able to care for her young family. She now faces many more procedures and many more months of pain before she can even dare to think about her future.
There are many more women like my constituent, as we have heard today, and I pay tribute to the bravery of these women who have come forward to demand that they be heard and that their stories are told and acted upon; but these are the women we know about. Alarmingly, many are not aware that post-operative issues may be a direct result of the implants. The worrying narrative emerging is that many women who have had the implants and have since experienced problems are only now finding out about the complications that mesh can cause. Women who have had the procedure should be contacted directly and made aware of the issues we are debating here today.
Women who have suffered such debilitating effects deserve a full inquiry to determine how it could have happened and what steps will be taken to ensure such a situation never happens again. I therefore agree with the APPG’s recommendation to suspend the procedures pending a NICE guideline review to protect the health and wellbeing of more women.
I hope this debate will ensure that the Government listen to the women affected by the implants. I hope they will confirm their commitment to investigate the situation fully and take urgent action to prevent other women going through some of the horrific ordeals we have heard about today.