Making a Difference 2018

Cambs Times - Sling the Mesh


Cambs Times reporter, Kath Sansom, began the campaign after suffering ongoing pain from a gynaecology operation. Kath underwent an operation to have a TVT mesh sling for bladder problems, and whilst researching what went wrong, discovered it was a global problem. Kath became a regular guest of MPs - to seek acknowledgement that the operation is flawed and to have it suspended.

Kath said: “I found out what I thought was a body-friendly sling is made from polypropylene plastic mesh – the same material used to make drinks bottles. The tape can twist or shrink, degrade and harbour bacteria. It can damage nerves during insertion, and the bladder can be perforated.”

Campaign highlights include a Parliamentary lobby in July 2017 with MPs who heard harrowing stories of how mesh has changed women’s lives beyond recognition. Kath joined the Scottish Mesh Survivors to speak – by phone- at the Australian senate inquiry into pelvic mesh implants. The Labour Party in October called for immediate suspension of vaginal mesh. Professor Carl Heneghan and the British Media Journal reveal mesh implants have been used in patients without clinical trials. December 2017 saw New Zealand be the first country in the world to ban pelvic mesh.

The campaign today

When launched in June 2015 the campaign had just 20 members, as of April 2019, the group now numbers 7,300. In July, mesh implants were stopped immediately in hospitals across England after the Government stepped in just days after launching a safety review. 

More recently, the Sling the Mesh campaign group conducted a survey in March 2019 which suggested a third of women have been fitted with vaginal mesh - higher than the national average.

The review, launched by then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, is led by Baroness Cumberlege and as of May 2019, the Cumberlege Review is in its final stages.

Related links

NICE must toughen up mesh guidelines says Sling the Mesh (March 2019)
Sling the Mesh celebrates after most popular mesh type is suspended (July 2018)
Sling the Mesh joins rally for 100 years of Votes for Women rally outside Parliament (February 2018)
Our Sling the Mesh campaign heads to Parliament (October 2017)
Sling the Mesh: Our reporter Kath launches campaign to stop the operation thats ruining womens lives (June 2015)