Health secretary Matt Hancock visits Norwich
PUBLISHED: 18:02 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:27 01 March 2019
The health secretary Matt Hancock visited Norwich on Thursday to speak to women affected by the surgical mesh scandal.
Mr Hancock met with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who arranged the meeting, and also earlier visited the new endoscopy unit at the Quadram Institute and visited the Weybourne cancer treatment unit and radiotherapy treatment building, the Winterton Unit, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Mr Hancock said: “Hearing firsthand the stories of women who had been badly affected by surgical mesh implants is harrowing and lengths they have gone to try and identify the problem and try to have it fixed are extraordinary, this is a very significant problem we need to get to the bottom of.”
Surgical mesh implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse. But concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. And thousands of women have had them removed in the past 10 years.
Mr Hancock also met staff and patients in the new endoscopy unit in the Quadram Institute on Norwich Research Park. Dr Bernard Brett, gastroenterology consultant, and Tracy McDonnell, lead endoscopy nurse, showed him the journey taken by patients, from booking in to recovery and discharge. Mark Davies, NNUH chief executive, said: “We were delighted to welcome the secretary of state and show him some of the innovative treatments and dedicated care that we offer our patients, describe our vision for the future and raise some of the challenges that we’re currently facing.”
Mr Hancock said he recognised there were issues facing the health service in Norfolk with three trusts - the NNUH, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, and Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust - in special measures. He said: “It’s undoubtedly true that the NHS in Norfolk needs support, we’re making sure it will be getting more money as a whole but it’s more than just the money.”
He also thanked staff and said: “Everybody in Norfolk values those who look after their health.”