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Surgeons back Cumberlege call for a database of medical implants

08 Jul 2020

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is urging government to act upon recommendations made by Baroness Cumberlege, following her independent review into the use of pelvic mesh and other technologies. 

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review makes a series of recommendations today in its report, ‘First do no harm’ [1].  Among them, is a recommendation proposed by the College in evidence given to the Review last year [2], that: ‘A central database should be created by collecting key details including the patient, the implanted device, and the surgeon’.

Commenting on the report, Professor Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England said, 

“Our first thoughts today are with the patients who have bravely come forward to give evidence to this inquiry. It is clear from their powerful testimonies that the system, and individuals working in it, have let them down. 

“All parts of the healthcare system have a responsibility now to listen, to take stock, and also to act. We will closely review the recommendations made today, and are committed to working with fellow Medical Royal Colleges, with professional regulators and government, to take these proposals forward.

“At the root of some of the problems highlighted here, is a failure properly to monitor implants and medical devices, so that any problems from their use can be picked up swiftly. This is one positive action that could be taken forward immediately, which is why we are urging the government to implement Baroness Cumberlege’s recommendation to establish a central database of implants and devices. 

“An individual medical professional might have seen just one or two cases of problems with an implant over a number of years, but with system-wide monitoring, problems could and should be picked up much sooner. The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill going through Parliament should be used to implement this particular recommendation without delay.”


Notes to editors

  • [1] The report of the IMMDS review is published here:
  • [2] RCS England President Professor Derek Alderson gave evidence to Baroness Cumberlege’s review in February 2019, available to watch here:
  • [3] The Commission on the Future of Surgery recommended in 2018 that “A UK-wide registry should be established to track new devices. Implantable devices should have long-term monitoring in a register akin to the breast implant registry. These developments should involve expertise from the royal colleges.”
  • [4] The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
  • [5] For more information, please contact the RCS press office: telephone: 020 7869 6047; email:; out-of-hours media enquiries – 020 7869 6056.

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