Cambs Times journalist Kath Sansom praised in the House of Lords for Sling the Mesh campaign
Campaigner and Cambs Times journalist Kath Sansom was hailed in the House of Lords for her defiance in highlighting an important health issue affecting thousands of women.
Sling the Mesh, which has campaigned for the suspension of mesh implants that have left women in excruciating pain, was discussed in the Safety of Medicines and Medical Devices debate yesterday (February 28).
The debate took note of the steps being taken to improve the safety of medicines and medical devices.
Lord O’Shaughnessy, parliamentary under secretary of state at the department of health, praised Kath for “highlighting the human costs” of mesh procedures.
Speaking in the House of Lords, he said: “I also very clearly remember meeting a large group of women whose lives had been ruined by mesh.
“Some were confined to wheelchairs and all had suffered or were suffering considerable pain as a result of what they had been told at the time was a minor and uncomplicated procedure: the insertion of synthetic mesh.
“I had several further meetings with affected women and parliamentary campaigners on this issue, and I take this opportunity to thank Kath Sansom and the Sling the Mesh campaign for highlighting the human costs of some of these mesh procedures and for working constructively to change the policy and the regulatory environment to reduce the risks to women.”
Kath, who has worked at the Cambs Times for more than 10 years, has campaigned ferociously for women who were left in chronic pain after being given mesh implants to treat organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.
In July last year the Government accepted a recommendation to temporarily ban vaginal mesh implants for women with urinary incontinence.
It followed The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege.
Lord Hunt of King’s Heath, also name-checked Kath in the House of Lords for her “excellent campaign”.
He said: “The noble Lord has focused on the review of the noble Baroness, Lady Cumberlege.
“I will concentrate on surgical mesh, but I recognise that the review has a much wider significance, assessing the actions of relevant authorities over the years when safety concerns have been raised.
“On surgical mesh, what is so striking is how long it has taken to get any action.
“The excellent campaign group Sling the Mesh, led by Kath Sansom, has fought a sustained campaign to draw attention to the problems that we have heard about, with many women left in permanent pain, unable to walk or work and feeling totally neglected by the National Health Service.”
Kath launched Sling the Mesh in 2015 following her own painful experience, and has since gone on to see the Cambs Times win the Making a Difference award for the best local newspaper campaign.
Highlights of her campaign include a lobby of the Houses of Parliament in July 2017, when MPs who heard harrowing stories of how surgical mesh has changed women’s lives beyond recognition.
Speaking about the House of Lords debate yesterday, Kath said: “Feeling incredibly proud right now following a three hour debate in the House of Lords in which my name and Sling The Mesh was mentioned throughout for determination in ensuring the government tightens up regulations and scrutiny of patient safety.”
Hundreds of people took to social media to congratulate Kath for her hardwork.