A DEESIDE woman left disabled from complications arising from a surgical mesh implant has reacted to findings of a damning new review which found she could have been spared the life-changing complications from the surgery.

Maxine Cooper, from Connah's Quay, is one of thousands of women UK health secretary Matt Hancock apologised to on Wednesday following a damning report into the "avoidable" impact surgical mesh implants have had on them.

An Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review into treatment, which has been used in the pelvis for 20 years for conditions such as stress incontinence and prolapse in women, found that its "long-term risk profile" is still unknown.

A number of complications can and have been shown to arise after having mesh implanted. Patients can suffer from internal injuries to neighbouring organs, blood vessels and nerves, which in turn can leave people with severe illnesses and disabilities. These are life altering conditions and in the worst-case scenario may result in death.

The review found thousands of women could have been spared life-changing complications if health watchdog NICE’s guidance had been properly followed, for example by allowing only experienced surgeons to carry out the procedure and keeping a national record of patients.

The report states: "None of this happened consistently. There were no checks on implementation of the guidance nor enforcement and no consequences for not following it.

"Had it been implemented, it is likely that many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women would have been spared mesh complications."

And the health secretary apologised 'on behalf of the NHS and health service' and that the voices of those affected 'had been heard' after decades

The inquiry into the surgery said lives 'catastrophically affected' by mistakes made with three products - vaginal mesh, primodos and sodium valproate - could have been avoided.

The report, led by former health minster Baroness Cumberlege, criticised NHS, private health firms and regulators for failing to spot the signs and called for reform.

The Leader: Former health minster Baroness Cumberlege and Maxine Cooper. Former health minster Baroness Cumberlege and Maxine Cooper.

Ms Cooper, 57, has been undergoing treatment for five years following major health complications after she underwent mesh implant surgery after pregnancy in 2010, and has been campaigning for a review into its use ever since.

She has been left disabled, and says her feelings are of relief, but also sadness that it has taken so long for a report into the treatment.

She said: "It's a sense of relief that we've been finally believed and listened to - as for a long time I was told my health problems were nothing to do with the mesh.

"But it's also a sense of sadness that a lot women affected took their own lives before the review was made.

"I feel pleased i have been part of history, saving future victims from pain and trauma that we have endured and I hope the Government will now act on the baroness' recommendations."

The report states that some clinicians’ reactions ranged from ‘it’s all in your head’ to ‘these are women’s issues’ or ‘it’s that time of life’.

It said: "We met so many women with limited mobility having to rely on a wheelchair or crutches to move around, unable to sit for periods at a time, unable to play with their children or carry their grandchildren, living daily with the consequences of the operations and procedures they thought would cure them.

"The effects of these procedures have caused fractured relationships for some and placed some women and their families in dire financial straits. In short, the system does not know the true long-term complication rate for pelvic mesh procedures."

Ms Cooper says women affected by the complications of the treatment should receive some form of compensation and a face-to-face apology from health chiefs.

She said: "I am left disabled for life - I lost my health, my job, my purpose in life - I lost everything.

"We have been badly let down."

Mr Hancock said: "I want to issue on behalf of the NHS and whole heath care system, I want to issue a full apology to those who have suffered an their families for the frustration, for the time that’s it’s taken, that they have taken, to get their voices heard.

"And now their voices have been heard, it’s very important that we learn from this report that we commissioned, to make sure that these sorts of mistakes don’t happen again.

"And that’s why we are taking forward some of the recommendations immediately, and we will consider all the recommendations in full."