This post is based on the following Scottish Parliamentary debate which took place on the 5th December 2017. In this post I have highlighted cross-party considerations relating to fully informed consent. One of the aims of the original petition, Polypropylene Mesh Medical Devices, PE1517 was to call on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to:
“introduce fully informed consent with uniformity throughout Scotland’s Health Boards”.
Johann Lamont, MSP, stated:
Johann Lamont went on to state:
Jackson Carlaw, MSP made the comparison between this Mesh scandal and that of Thalidomide, a prescribed medication:
Jackson Carlaw, cited Brenda O’Hara, MP who like Johann Lamont expressed determination that this should never be allowed to happen again:
Neil Findlay, MSP, has steadfastly supported the Mesh survivors from the outset. He began by expressing very serious concerns about financial conflicts of interest and the medical profession:
Neil Findlay, MSP, continued:
Currently there is no regulatory requirement for healthcare workers to declare financial interests. In NHS Scotland there exists Guidance (HDL62) but this guidance is being routinely ignored by NHS Boards. This was why I raised petition PE1493, A Sunshine Act for Scotland.
This was the first point raised by the former Health Secretary, Alex Neil, MSP:
The Scottish Public share this view. This was established almost two years ago through a public consultation undertaken by the Scottish Health Council.
An open-access, central register where all healthcare workers are required to declare financial interests would provide a fuller basis for informed consent.
Michelle Ballantyne, MSP has come to this conclusion:
The evidence gathered for PE1493 (A Sunshine Act for Scotland) came to the same conclusion.
Anas Sarwar, MSP, gave one of the closing speeches and stated that:
The Mesh survivors were deprived of fully informed consent and as a result dreadful harm resulted.
This parliamentary debate demonstrates that there is full cross-party agreement that, in order to prevent future harm, action has to be taken to ensure that consent is fully informed.
Without transparency of financial conflicts of interests, fully informed consent cannot be ensured. The Scottish public came to this conclusion almost two years ago in a consultation arranged by the Scottish Government.