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The dangers of sodium valproate being prescribed to women of childbearing age, in years when they might be trying to conceive and into pregnancy are well known but have been highlighted again by the press following the review led by Dr Henrietta Hughes and her, now, call to the Government to properly compensate children left disabled by this drug.

The review also looked at how women were injured, and their lives significantly affected by pelvic mesh implants used to treat prolapse and incontinence.

What is a pelvic mesh implant?

For many years the use of pelvic mesh was thought to be the best treatment for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in women. The mesh resembles a type of net-like implant and for many years women have complained of suffering extreme pain and discomfort following insertion of the same.

What went wrong?

In a number of cases women experienced extreme pain and disability following the operation to insert the pelvic mesh. This was, predominantly, caused by the mesh poking through the vaginal wall or cutting through internal tissues. As a result of this type of injury some women suffered excruciating pain and injuries which significantly affected their health and were, for some women, life changing. Some of these complications can occur several years following insertion of the mesh.

What was done?

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review recommended that the mesh stopped being used for SUI and this was extended later to cover POP. That recommendation remains in place.

A review into the use of pelvic mesh was undertaken in 2018 and a response was provided by the Government in 2021.

Dr Henrietta Hughes, the UK’s first ever Patient Safety Commissioner and was appointed in 2022. She has looked at the pelvic mesh reviews and has called, now, for this to be addressed properly by the Government.  Dr Hughes believes that thousands of women have not sought help or advice in relation to pelvic mesh implants and calls for them now to be properly compensated by the Government.  She suggests a sum of £20,000.

It is likely that the Government will now consider this and NHS Resolution (who help the NHS to resolve claims and complaints made against them) have a dedicated page on their website dealing with this issue.

How can we help?

Many women who experienced problems with the vaginal mesh implant have been suffering in silence, believing that their concerns will be or have been “fobbed off” by medical professionals as nothing to be concerned about or, worse still have felt ignored. Lots of women have been left with significant physical and psychological injuries as a result of the implant. They may not be able to work, have significant mobility problems or difficulties maintaining a physical relationship with their partners.

If you have a pelvic mesh implant and have experienced problems as a result of the same you may be able to make a claim against the NHS.  This may include a claim if you think that you were given the wrong information or advice from a medical professional. You might think that you were not given a choice or options of different treatments to consider and that, had you been given that choice and informed of the risks, you would not have had the implant.

Claims of this type can be complex and difficult to investigate. The Clinical Negligence team at Lester Aldridge are experienced in making claims for women who suffer gynaecological injuries and take pride in succeeding with cases and getting the compensation and support that they need.

We have access to some of the best independent experts in the country. We work quickly on the issues of fault so that interim damages payments are obtained promptly so that our client’s can move forward with paying for treatment and care that they might need.

For further information, please contact us at or call 01202 786260 to speak to our Personal Injury & Medical Negligence team.

Read our blog: Understanding the Risks of Sodium Valproate During Pregnancy