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'Mesh guidance may breach human rights laws' - Flynn

9 May, 2019 - by Órlaithí Flynn

Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn has expressed concern that recent guidance released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on the use of mesh implants may breach international human rights obligations.

The West Belfast MLA was commenting after NICE recommended that the controversial implants could be offered providing certain conditions were met such as specialist surgeons and centres.

Órlaithí Flynn said: 

“According to a United Nations monitoring committee the Right to Health carries an obligation to protect and promote health.

“NICE recently issued its latest guidance on the use of vaginal mesh implants to address incontinence and prolapse. 

“Sinn Féin believes this guidance may breach Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in that it constitutes a violation of the obligation to protect. 

“We also believe this guidance may breach Section 75 equality obligations given its failure to protect has an unequal impact on women and older women.

“It is difficult to see how NICE can meet its obligation to protect without knowing ‘the true prevalence of long-term complications” or how surgeons can confidently secure consent from their patients when the risks have been cited as ‘unknown’.

“On Monday, I will hand in the party's submission and a note of concern to the Human Rights commission."

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