Owen’s May Pontypridd Observer column

Regular readers will know one of the issues I’ve campaigned on since being elected is women’s health, and in recent years, the risks of surgical mesh.

The campaign to raise awareness and demand action on surgical mesh came back to Parliament two weeks ago as we held a debate in the Chamber on the risks of surgical mesh. I was proud to speak in the debate, and I am pleased that since forming an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on mesh, Ministers have started to listen and the government has agreed to take a number of actions to address complications related to mesh.

Mesh implant surgery is a so-called ‘quick-fix’ procedure used to treat incontinence in women following childbirth, and involves a tape or sling inserted to support the bladder. For an increasing number of women, the surgery has brought about a new set of health problems with some reporting severe complications since having the surgery, including debilitating pain and mobility problems.

The issue of mesh complications was first brought to my attention following contact from a local woman who was suffering with chronic pain and whose life had been changed dramatically following complications after her surgery.

In recent months, as a direct result of campaigning by us members of the APPG, the government has agreed to undertake an audit on mesh operations and a full prospective registry on all future procedures. The fight continues as we press the government to urgently update medical guidelines on the use of mesh.

Another campaign to improve women’s health that I am bringing to Parliament this week is an event discussing the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid. Fortification would mean that the rates of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects (such as spina bifida and anencephaly) could fall significantly. 81 countries across the world currently fortify flour with folic acid and each has seen a reduction in the number of neural tube defects in pregnancies.

I’ll be hosting the event with Shine, whose Chief Executive I met earlier this year and who is based here in Pontypridd. Shine provides important specialist support pre-birth and beyond for anyone living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, and to parents, families, carers and professional care staff.

Get in touch

I’m always available to help constituents on a wide range of issues. Please feel free to get in touch by calling 01443 401122, emailing [email protected] or visiting www.owensmithmp.co.uk.  You can also find me at Facebook.com/OwenSmithMP and Twitter.com/OwenSmith_MP.