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Spalding Punchbowl couple head for London rally over mesh 'betrayal'

Spalding publicans Pete and Steph Williams are going to a mass rally in London to highlight the "institutional betrayal" of women harmed by mesh implants.

Steph (63) is a comparatively fortunate victim of an operation that has led some to suicide or attempted suicide - and left others in wheelchairs or walking with sticks.

The Punchbowl landlady had spent more than a year in agony when her mesh was removed in July 2018 at University College Hospital London (UCLH).

Steph and Pete are attending a rally in London to protest about the stopping of mesh removal operations.
Steph and Pete are attending a rally in London to protest about the stopping of mesh removal operations.

But mesh removals carried out by one UCLH surgeon and her team have now been halted by hospital bosses, while a second UCLH team is still carrying out the procedure.

Although Steph's implant is gone, she needs further medical attention but her appointments at UCLH this month have been cancelled.

Pete says Steph is in pain due to nerve damage from the implant.

He said they will take a banner to the rally and are looking to use the wording: "Because of the mesh I can't pick up my grandchildren."

Pete and Steph are ardent supporters of the campaign group, Sling the Mesh, founded by journalist Kath Sansom, of March, Cambridgeshire.

The group has organised twin rallies this Thursday, one at the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) conference in Manchester and the second at UCLH.

Campaigners believe the latest NICE guidelines on use of pelvic mesh implants may pave the way for generations of women to be harmed.

One conference speaker is Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University.

Professor Heneghan said: "Twenty years after mesh was introduced we still have no understanding of its impact on women's quality of life, the long-term complications and who has been harmed.

"It is therefore vital that NICE's national registry starts with the thousands of women who have already had mesh.

"Vast numbers of patients are informing how to improve healthcare; it's about time we - the health system - listened."

Kath Sansom says: "Every woman harmed by mesh has been failed by the system. It has gone beyond institutional denial. It is institutional betrayal."

* UCLH says it is trying to ensure that its service is in a good position to be selected as one of the new specialised services for women suffering from complications arising from mesh inserted for urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse.

It says NHS England is looking to commission between four and seven centres across the country.

Our previous stories have included:

Spalding publican: 'Mesh operation? Don't do it'

Mesh removal 'op' for Steph after her year of agony

Spalding pub couple join mesh fight at House of Lords

Spalding Punchbowl couple hope op will end Steph’s agony

‘This operation left me in agony’ says Spalding woman Steph


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