Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Hundreds of women are taking legal action against the NHS for pain caused by vaginal mesh implants


Nearly 800 women are taking legal action against the NHS after being fitted with vaginal mesh implants, which are supposed to support organs which have prolapsed and prevent incontinence after childbirth.

The Victoria Derbyshire programme reports that the women are suing both the NHS and the pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson, who are responsible for producing the mesh as they claim it has left them with chronic pain, and in some cases unable to walk or have sex, with some of the women even reporting that their partners had been injured by the device.

Read more: Midwife abandons half-finished hair appointment to deliver baby

One woman told the BBC the implant had “cut” through her vagina and left her unable to work due to the pain. Another said she had had her womb wrongly removed in response to the pain she reported, three years after having the mesh installed. Most of the women interviewed for the show said they wanted to take legal action as they had never been told by surgeons about the potential risk of the implant.

Woman in pain

The implants are made from netted plastic, the same material that is used to make plastic bottles, and there are around 100 different types.

The NHS website lists vaginal meshes as one possible treatment for vaginal prolapse, commonly used to provide further support to the vaginal wall or other organs after surgery to prevent further collapse. It states that currently, around 1,500 of the treatments are carried out each year and acknowledges that while most people respond well to the treatment, there are reports of complications to the MHRA.

It recommends asking your GP about alternative procedures and the potential complications associated with the mesh and its removal before going ahead with the procedure.

According to stats obtained by the BBC, 92,000 women had the implants fitted in England in the eight-year period between April 2007 and March 2015. The NHS data suggests that one in 11 of these women has experienced issues following the fitting.

Read more: Two thirds of us wouldn’t recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer

In defense of the products, a Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency spokesman said: "The greater proportion of the clinical community and patients support the use of these devices in the UK." They said they will endeavor to address the concerns of patients.

Owen Smith, Labour MP, is planning a Parliamentary debate on the use of vaginal mesh and says there needs to be an investigation into their use.

"I think there is a really good case for saying 'suspend its usage' until there is clarity about the scale of the problems we're facing,” he told the BBC.

This is not an isolated problem, as thousands of women in the US have successfully sued manufacturers of vaginal mesh after experiencing similar problems and have received payouts of several billion dollars as a result. Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson was accused of neglecting to tell patients and doctors about the risks and complications related to mesh.

Images: iStock



Janelle Monáe thinks we should consider going on a ‘sex strike’


Jane Fonda nails the big problem with the patriarchy


Judge who gave Stanford rapist lenient sentence is cleared of misconduct



Clueless nearly never got made because of Hollywood sexism

As Cher would say, as if

by Jasmine Andersson
23 Jun 2017

Starbucks are hiring 2,500 refugees across Europe

by Nicola Colyer
23 Jun 2017

Man carries out flower girl duties with immense pride and solemnity

His commitment is quite something

by Amy Swales
23 Jun 2017

Shocking US law says men can finish sex if woman withdraws consent


by Moya Crockett
23 Jun 2017

Serial fans, Adnan Syed has been given a second chance in court

New hope for Syed supporters

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Jun 2017

The scientific reason summer turns you into a horrible person

A new study confirms that we’re not very nice when we’re too hot

by Moya Crockett
23 Jun 2017

The 5 most surprising things I learnt from appearing on First Dates

What's it really like to appear on First Dates?

by Jasmine Andersson
22 Jun 2017

Rihanna just gave a heartbroken fan the best relationship advice

The pop star took time out to give a fan this brilliant tip

by Stylist
22 Jun 2017

First Dates fans respond to “shocking” mansplaining incident

“A frightened, insecure monkey hanging on to his patriarchal perch for dear life”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Jun 2017

Golden rules of work happiness from Europe’s female tech leaders

From nap rooms to therapists and no overtime

by Anna Brech
22 Jun 2017