Surgical Mesh Implants — [Albert Owen in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:28 am on 18th October 2017.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons) 10:28 am, 18th October 2017

That is an important, well-made point. The failure of the procedure that my constituent went through has changed his life. He was previously a runner, cyclist and mountain-climber—a very active man. He now struggles to get around. When he came to see me, he had to stand throughout our meeting because of the pain that he is in. He is now suffering with a chronic condition as a result of the failed procedure.

My constituent has been in contact with a number of other men—and is aware of many others—who are in this difficult situation. He asked me to ask the Minister two questions. First, how many men have gone through this procedure and had it fail? Secondly, will the scope of any future NHS investigations be widened to include men as well as women? I do not want to downplay the seriousness of the issue for women, which has been clearly explained by a number of Members today, but any investigation needs to take the experience of men into account.

As it happens, my constituent underwent his procedure in a private hospital, which points to three wider issues that he asked me to raise. First, there is a lack of clarity—as we have already heard—about the roles and responsibilities within private hospitals and between hospitals, surgeons and others involved in the process. Secondly, there is no mandatory reporting of chronic pain incidents following unsuccessful operations; that clearly needs to be addressed.

Thirdly, there is a three-year limit to medical negligence claims, which has had an impact on my constituent and possibly others as well. My constituent had his operation just under three years ago, but he has been managing his agonising pain and chronic condition for the last two years and has not really been able to think about whether there is a medical negligence claim. He does not really have time now to lodge one within the three-year limit. I would be interested to hear the Minister say something on those matters.

I conclude by supporting the other points that have been made by hon. Members about the prioritisation of this issue by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the need for a full public inquiry.