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Government says sorry to families who suffered 'avoidable harm' through ‘harrowing’ mesh, hormone and epilepsy treatment

Government says sorry to families who suffered 'avoidable harm' through ‘harrowing’ mesh, hormone and epilepsy treatment

Nadine Dorries

2 min read

Health minister Nadine Dorries has apologised to families who suffered "avoidable harm" as a result of medical procedures, after a landmark review revealed their "harrowing" experiences.

The Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review examined the use of pelvic mesh prolapse treatments, anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate and hormone pregnancy test Primodos, all of which left more than 700 families with devastating physical and psychological injuries.

Led by Baroness Cumberlege, it also looked at whether sufficient procedures were followed when patients, many of whom suffered "crippling, life-changing effects", raised concerns.

It found the health system in England to be "disjointed, siloised and defensive".

And it called for a new patient safety champion with legal powers to be put in place, as well as a network of support centres for victims.

In a statement to the Commons on Thursday, Ms Dorries said every page of the review's findings "makes clear the pain and suffering that has been felt by so many patients and their families", and set out "heartwrenching stories of acute suffering".

"I would like to make an apology to those people, on behalf of the health and care sector, for the time the system took to listen and respond to those women, to their children and their families," she added.

The health minister said the government would now examine the recommendations made by Baroness Cumberlege and would return to MPs with a "fulsome report" on next steps. 

She thanked "every single person" who contributed to the review, and added: "Their brave testimony will help patients in the future."

Lib Dem MP Ed Davey said the publication of the review's findings was only "the beginning", calling for compensation for the women affected, as well as those with adult children who also suffered harm and criminal charges against those responsible.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock also apologised "on behalf of the NHS and whole healthcare system".

He said on Wednesday: "I want to issue a full apology to those who have suffered an their families for the frustration, for the time that’s it’s taken, that they have taken, to get their voices heard. 

"And now their voices have been heard, it’s very important that we learn from this report that we commissioned, to make sure that these sorts of mistakes don’t happen again."


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