A global task force is launched to tackle medical implant safety after our reporter speaks at a conference in Switzerland

PUBLISHED: 09:05 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21 16 November 2018

Kath Sansom at ISOP Geneva 2018.

Kath Sansom at ISOP Geneva 2018.

Archant

A mum of two from the Fens is the first patient in 18 years to be invited to speak at an international conference of medical experts.

Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Oxford University, speaks at ISOP Geneva 2018.Professor Carl Heneghan, Director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Oxford University, speaks at ISOP Geneva 2018.

Our reporter Kath Sansom travelled to Switzerland to give a formal presentation about her campaign work with Sling The Mesh.

With a group of experts from Oxford University she highlighted the desperate need for better regulation of medical implants like surgical mesh.

Following her speech, Sten Olsson, president of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance (ISOP), announced that they are forming a task force special interest group to tackle the issues.

Jeffrey Aronson, of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Oxford at ISOP Geneva 2018.Jeffrey Aronson, of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, Oxford at ISOP Geneva 2018.

Kath said: “It was a privilege to be part of such an important event and reassuring that people worldwide, with the ability to enforce change, know that extra vigilance is needed and want to do something about it.

“Sling The Mesh Facebook support group has more than 7,100 members yet it began with just 20 in 2015.

“Being a patient advocate has taken hours of hard work. Every day for three and a half years.

Robin Ferner, West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions, speaks about medical devices at ISOP Geneva 2018.Robin Ferner, West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions, speaks about medical devices at ISOP Geneva 2018.

“Hopefully it shows what can be achieved with determination and hard work.”

The ISOP conference in Geneva involves medical experts from across the world including Russia, Ghana, China, Iraq, Columbia, Netherlands and America. There were 450 people from 75 countries.

Sten Olsson, president of ISOP, said: “There’s a lot of work to be done in regulation in this field so we are delighted to officially announce the launch of a special interest group on medical devices.”

Kath Sansom at ISOP Geneva 2018.Kath Sansom at ISOP Geneva 2018.

It was the first time in the conference’s 18 year history that a patient advocate has been allowed to attend.

Mira Harrison-Woolrych, of the organising committee, said: “It’s very exciting to have patients at the ISOP conference, sometimes we get distracted by databases yet we want to put patients at the heart of the meeting and the heart of our work.”

ISOP is a professional society that aims ‘to foster science and learning in pharmacovigilance in all countries and promotes the safe and effective use of medicinal products.

The Programme for the International Society of Pharmacovigilance in Geneva, 2018The Programme for the International Society of Pharmacovigilance in Geneva, 2018

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