How many complaints have been received about clinical use of mesh?

Matthew Hopkins made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, General Medical Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Matthew Hopkins

Dear General Medical Council,
(a) in the past twelve months (or the most recent such period for which records are available) how many complaints were received by the General Medical Council from patients about having any form of surgical mesh implanted into them by a clinician?
(b) How many of the complaints identified in (a) resulted in an investigation by the General Medical Council (or any part of it) into the clinician complained of?

Yours faithfully,

Matthew Hopkins

FOI, General Medical Council

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Email: [GMC request email]

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Hopkins

 

Your information request - F18/9638/CA

 

Thank you for your email dated 10 July 2018.

 

How we will consider your request

 

We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come
back to you as soon as we can.

 

Who to contact

 

Christine Abdy will be handling your request. If you have any questions
you can call her on 0161 923 6421 or email her at
[1][email address].

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Loredana Cojan

 

Information Access Assistant

[2][email address]

 

0161 240 8189

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

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Christine Abdy (0161 923 6421), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Hopkins

 

Your information request - F18/9638/CA

 

Thank you for your email dated 10 July 2018.  We’ve considered your
request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

Unfortunately I can’t provide the information you requested. This is
because of the amount of data you’ve asked for and the work that would be
involved. Under the FOIA there’s an exemption for requests where it would
cost the public authority more than £450 to process - equivalent to two
and half days’ work.

 

The cost of your request

 

To estimate the cost we can take into account determining, locating,
retrieving and extracting the information requested.   We do hold
information about complaints relating to clinical use of mesh but
unfortunately we are unable to provide the data because it is not held in
an easily retrievable format.   To reach this conclusion we conducted
preliminary searches on our case management database, for complaints
received from patients in the last 12 months, with the following text in
the allegation description field:  ‘mesh’, ‘TVT’ and ‘rectopexy’.   This
produced only a very small number of cases.   On further examination of
other known complaints about surgical mesh, I established that where
reference to mesh appears in complaint documents, it is not necessarily
recorded in a way that we can reliably capture it for statistical
purposes.

 

In order to produce the data we would need to manually check through the
details of each complaint about surgery that we received in the time
period to confirm if it’s within the scope of your request.   To
illustrate the work that would be involved:  in 2017 we received 630
complaints about doctors who were surgical specialists.  It could take 5
minutes to check through each complaint and 52.5 hours in total. Based on
an hourly rate of £25 per hour (which is set by the Freedom of Information
[Fees and Appropriate Limit] Regulations 2004) this would cost us
significantly in excess of the ‘appropriate limit’ to process.

 

The exemption:  Under the FOIA, the specific exemption which we believe
applies is at section 12. This states that we are not required to comply
with a request if we estimate that the cost of doing so would exceed the
appropriate limit. 

 

Your right to appeal:  I'm sorry I couldn’t provide the information you
requested. You can appeal against this decision to the Information Access
Manager.  If you want to appeal, please set out your reasons and write to
her at the above address or email [GMC request email].  You can also appeal to
the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA – we can
provide more details about this if you need them.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Christine Abdy

Information Access Officer

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester   M3 3AW

 

 

 

 

 

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