Intended for healthcare professionals


Cumberlege review: Government reconsiders no blame compensation for people harmed by mesh and sodium valproate

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: (Published 15 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o3011
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The government has said it will review proposals for an independent redress agency for people harmed by pelvic mesh and sodium valproate after initially rejecting the idea last year.1

A redress agency for people harmed by medicines and medical devices was recommended by Julia Cumberlege in 2020 as part of her review into patients harmed by the pregnancy test drug Primodos, epilepsy drug sodium valproate, and pelvic mesh used to treat urinary incontinence. The review advised that the agency should use a “non-adversarial process . . . looking at systemic failings, rather than blaming individuals.”2

But the government rejected the idea of a specific agency and advised patients to use the NHS resolution system, a move that was vehemently opposed by patients’ groups, which said that people who have been harmed shouldn’t have to endure lengthy court proceedings and would be better served by a no blame approach.

Emma Murphy, cofounder of the Independent Foetal Anti-Convulsant Trust (In-FACT), said at a House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee evidence session on 13 December, “This isn’t an NHS problem. This was caused by poor regulation, and it has continued for 50 years. We have tried the route of clinical negligence …

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