THOUSANDS of women and children had their lives damaged in three avoidable health scandals, a scathing report says.
They were left in pain and suffering because the NHS failed to listen to their concerns, it added.
Their often harrowing ordeals emerged during an inquiry into pelvic mesh implants, the anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate and hormone pregnancy tests.
More than 700 families gave evidence to the inquiry led by Baroness Cumberlege.
Her report said they had been “dismissed, overlooked, and ignored for far too long”.
The inquiry stated: “We met with hundreds of affected patients and their families.
“It became all too clear that those who have been affected have been dismissed, overlooked, and ignored for far too long.
“The issue here is not one of a single or a few rogue medical practitioners, or differences in regional practice. It is system-wide.”
The reviewers also said the system “does not know” how many women have been affected by these scandals.
In a letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Baroness Cumberlege said: “We have found that the healthcare system is disjointed, unresponsive and defensive.
“It has failed to listen to their concerns and when, belatedly, it has decided to act, it has too often moved glacially.”
She added: “We must ensure the risks of increasingly complex healthcare are understood and, where the system is not sure of the risks, it must say so.
“Had it done so in the case of our three interventions, I have no doubt that much anguish, suffering and many ruined lives could have been avoided.”
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