A WOMAN who has campaigned against the use of gynaecological mesh has described its ongoing use as "a scandal".

Jemima Williams, 57, of Griffin Close, Barry, received a surgical mesh implant in 2002 and has endured severe complications ever since.

She began campaigning against its use several years ago, with the case against the mesh only now coming to national attention due to a Parliamentary debate last week.

Some campaigners have said that the use of gynaecological mesh in women could become a huge medical scandal, with one of Britain's top urogynaecologists Sohier Elneil saying the scandal is "bigger than thalidomide".

Mrs Williams has made calls for the use of mesh to be suspended by the Welsh Government.

Surgical mesh is a medical tool used by surgeons as a support for organs within the body.

Whilst it has a variety of functions, it is commonly used to rectify bowel and bladder problems.

But critics say that it can leave recipients in severe, chronic pain following surgery, leaving some women in agony, unable to walk, work or have sex. The mesh can even erode and slice through organs.

Mrs Williams, a grandmother of two and wife of a GP, said the mesh has left her "in agony every minute of the day".

She said: "You can't sit, you can't eat, you can't walk, you can't drive.

"Your bodily functions go out of the window and you can't function as person or as a parent. It's ruined my life.

"I would say to any woman offered this procedure, do not ever, ever touch mesh."

Mrs Williams said that patients are not informed that the operation is permanent, describing trying to remove the mesh, should it begin to erode as: "Like taking chewing gum from hair, or chicken wire out of concrete."

The House of Commons held a debate on the issue last week with campaigners calling for a full inquiry into its use, however this was rejected by the government.

The matter was brought further into the public spotlight earlier this month when a BBC documentary made allegations that Bristol-based surgeon Tony Dixon, a leading advocate in the use of surgical mesh, had failed to warn patients of complications associated with the surgery.

Some patients described his behaviour as "rude" and "arrogant", and said that he was overly insistent to operate rather than explore alternative treatments.

Dr Dixon is currently suspended by the Spire Hospital where he works, and is under restrictions from the General Medical Council while an investigation takes place.

Mrs Williams says she was referred to Dr Dixon around three years ago.

"I went across to Bristol to see him privately. I was desperate because I had been advised to have a colostomy," said Mrs Williams. "Dixon was really, really insistent that I should have this 'new mesh'."

She continued: "This is the kind of attitude that women are faced with from some surgeons every single day. They are told that mesh is a wonderful treatment and that the risks are low.

"People’s lives are completely ruined, along with their families' lives."

Dr Dixon is yet to respond to the allegations, with the BBC reporting that he would not comment while the investigation is ongoing.

Mrs Williams believes the case involving Dr Dixon is merely the tip of the iceberg with regards to the use of surgical mesh to treat bowel and bladder issues, referring to its ongoing use as "a scandal."

"There is a mass legal action going forward all over the globe," she said. "There are many women that won’t come forward to speak to journalists because they are going through legal action.

"This deepening scandal is being described as this generation's thalidomide and as disastrous as the asbestos scandal.

"Welsh Mesh Survivors call upon Welsh cabinet secretary for health Vaughan Gething, to call for a suspension on these surgical mesh procedures pending a full investigation."