Mesh campaigner is nominated by MSP

Elaine Holmes and Jackson Carlaw MSP
Elaine Holmes and Jackson Carlaw MSP

Jackson Carlaw MSP has nominated mesh implant campaigner Elaine Holmes to be the Eastwood ‘Local Hero’ at the opening ceremony of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament.

Local heroes are invited to take part in this major event in recognition of the important contribution they have made to the lives of other people living in Scotland either locally or nationally.

Elaine and other campaigners have been at the forefront of a national awareness campaign on mesh implants – a campaign which has achieved international success and led to changes in Scottish Government advice.

Commenting on his nomination Eastwood MSP Jackson Carlaw said: “Local Hero does sound rather a twee phrase but Elaine and other campaigners really have been at the forefront of a national awareness campaign on mesh implants.

“This is a campaign which has achieved international success and led to changes in Scottish Government advice.

“Elaine has brought tremendous energy and commitment to her efforts to prevent similar outcomes for many other women and, as such, I will be delighted to welcome her to Parliament on July 2 as Eastwood’s ‘Local Hero’.”

Commenting on her nomination, Elaine said: “When Jackson contacted me about my nomination as the Eastwood ‘Local Hero’ it was completely out of the blue, I was stunned!

“Once I digested the news I felt both humbled and privileged.

“It will be an absolute honour to represent both Eastwood and Scottish Mesh Survivors.”

An independent review into mesh implant surgery was ordered after women who had been left suffering from painful complications took their case to Holyrood.

But what is the procedure, and why has it caused a problem for some patients?

The implants are medical devices used by surgeons to treat pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence in women, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth.

Some women with incontinence receive treatment using a tension free tape, although adverse side effects are not thought to be as common, these operations were also suspended.

The mesh, usually made from synthetic polypropylene, is supposed to repair damaged or weakened tissue.

The implants are widely used throughout the UK, Europe and North America.

Mesh implants had been used successfully in many other parts of the body, but appeared to react differently when inserted in the abdomen.

A report by US regulatory body the Food and Drug Administration said once the mesh was implanted, it was very difficult, sometimes impossible, to remove.

About 1850 women had the surgery each year in Scotland, although it is unclear how many experienced problems.