More than 750 women had mesh procedures in the three years since the Scottish Government called for use of the controversial medical technique to be suspended, it has emerged.

The figures reveal the extent to which health boards have ignored the request by then health secretary Alex Neil in 2014, when he said boards should stop treating women using the procedure.

A report today by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee will renew calls for ministers to follow the lead of the UK Government, which ordered a halt to mesh operations in July.

Transvaginal Mesh is used to treat a number of conditions including pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence, by using a polypropylene net-like implant to support organs, including the bladder.

However, thousands of women have suffered life-changing complications from the treatment, leaving some in chronic pain or even given hysterectomies in a bid to alleviate their symptoms.

The committee’s report will also criticise a “perceived lack of urgency” on the part of the Scottish Government about making sure patients are appropriately informed.

Figures published by current health secretary Jeane Freeman have revealed the extent to which the controversial implants are still being used by health boards. Around 1200 procedures were carried out in the year prior to the ban. While this has dropped dramatically, women were treated with mesh tape insertion – for urinary incontinence – 696 times between 2014 and 2017, and on 54 occasions women had operations to insert mesh implants for POP.

An independent review commissioned by the Scottish Government was criticised as a whitewash when it was published last year, after an entire chapter was omitted from the final version amid concerns that details of negative effects experienced by patients were downplayed. Key participants resigned and disowned the findings.

Alison Britton, professor of healthcare at Glasgow Caledonian University, has now been commissioned to review the Independent Review. 

The report says use of mesh should be suspended in Scotland until confidence in the review can be restored, and also expresses alarm that many women were not believed when reporting complications to medical professionals. MSPs on the committee have been considering a petition lodged in April 2014 by Elaine Holmes and Olive McIlroy on behalf of the Scottish Mesh Survivors’ ‘Hear our Voice’ campaign.

Johann Lamont MSP, the Committee’s convener, said evidence sessions for the report had been “incredibly emotional, with the physical and mental impact plain to see”. She added: “We urge the Scottish Government to respond to our recommendations and the concerns of women.”

Angus MacDonald MSP, deputy convener of the Committee, said the Scottish Government should act on the findings and said Professor Britton’s report “will hopefully shed some more light on this extremely upsetting saga.”

Mesh expert Dr Wael Agur, of the University of Glasgow school of medicine – who resigned from the independent review group – said: “I believe the figures underestimate the number of women still undergoing this treatment. I don’t think women are being told that there are serious concerns and risks with these procedures. 

“Having led the way on this Scotland is now trailing behind England. Alex Neil did what he could given the limited information at the time. But given what we now know about the seriousness of the damage done to women by this practise the safest thing to do is suspend it,” he said.