THE OXFORD University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have said that vaginal mesh operations are a ‘highly effective treatment’ - despite a nationwide 'ban' and countless negative testimonies.

In a statement on their website, the Oxford Gynaecology and Pelvic Floor Centre said they would continue to offer abdominal mesh surgery for patients who have prolapse and backed the use of the controversial ‘TVT’ treatment, used for stress incontinence.

The stance follows news that at least 15 women are taking legal action against the Trust after claiming to have suffered graphic and ‘catastrophic’ side effects from mesh procedures.

Thousands of women nationwide have reportedly had operations to remove mesh in the last decade, while it has also been linked to a death.

Four health specialists wrote in an open letter: “the TVT, in our opinion, remains a highly effective treatment and this is consistent with the findings of the Scottish Government Independent Review of Transvaginal Mesh Implants.”

National campaign 'Sling the Mesh' quickly threw doubt on the reliability of the review, writing that it 'is currently under scrutiny amid whitewash claims'.

Mesh has been blamed for a host of horrifying issues, including chronic pain, the loss of sex lives and mobility problems by women nationwide.

The implants have reportedly cut into women’s bladders, bowels and vaginas.

Despite various patients subsequently having problems and removals, the practice was still being used by the John Radcliffe to treat incontinence prior to the recent guidance suspended its use.

But questions have since been raised about what the guidance means in practice - and whether it is even a ban.

Linda Millband, head of medical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, who represent over 220 mesh-injured clients, said: “The recommendation for a ban could not have been clearer and yet, whilst saying they accept it, the government haven’t introduced a ban at all. The only thing they have introduced is ambiguity where there was none.

“There will also be legitimate questions as to why procedures, such as rectopexy for bowel patients have not been included in the recommendations.

We believe they should be, because any mesh, wherever it is used, is dangerous, destructive and in some cases, deadly. We encourage anyone who has fallen victim to mesh complications to seek medical and legal advice as soon as possible.”

Kath Sansom, from Sling The Mesh, said: "There is a national suspension of vaginal mesh implants after Baroness Cumberlege said she is appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories of women and their families suffering.

"Yet at Oxford they see fit to insist it is still the best treatment option. They also say they are specialists at dealing with mesh complications. So they want to keep putting in and also fix it when it goes wrong.

"Nationally the old fashioned skills to fix prolapse and incontinence are being lost. New surgeons are mostly only trained using mesh. Plus mesh implant operations make a lot of money in private practice because it is a quick 20 minute day case operation compared to traditional repairs that take around two hours and require the surgeon visiting the patient on ward rounds for the next two days.

"Studies show traditional fixes are as effective as mesh - but don't carry additional risks like the plastic shrinking and cutting into tissues, organs and nerves."

Ingrid Granne, Clinical Director for Gynaecology said: "The Trust has not carried out vaginal mesh operations for prolapse since 2010. However, it has still been performing a limited number of mesh operations for stress urinary incontinence (known as TVT) after a full discussion with patients. We will be in contact with all patients currently listed for TVT operations over the coming days."

Baroness Cumberlege, who is reviewing the use of mesh, will be in Oxford on Monday, September 17, to hear from those affected.