The implants are the ‘recommended method’ for treating a pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence after childbirth.

Almost half of those who have received mesh implants are at risk of developing chronic pain, according to an investigation by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Peter Jones, a former general surgeon from Kent, told the BBC he spent much of his career removing mesh implants from hernia patients. He said: “At least half of patients who have a mesh repair will have a smooth recovery but in my opinion the risks of a poor outcome are so bad, I wouldn't want to take that risk”.

The UK's medical products regulator said the current evidence showed the devices are "acceptably safe" if used "properly and as intended."

More than 800 women across the UK are taking legal action against the NHS and the makers of vaginal mesh implants, it was revealed in April.

Between April 2007 and March 2015, over 92,000 women had vaginal mesh implants fitted in England.

The Department of Health told the BBC it is "recognised that women who have undergone these procedures may experience complications, as is the case with any surgical procedures and these symptoms can be distressing".

"It is essential that clinicians that conduct these operations carry out audits to ensure they are performing to the highest possible standards."

Ian Cohen, a clinical negligence specialist at Slater and Gordon, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of clients who have been left with very debilitating conditions as a consequence of vaginal mesh.

“Many of these clients believe they did not provide fully-informed consent as they were either not warned of the known risks of complications arising out of using vaginal mesh, or in many cases, they should never have been offered a TVT or TOT operation in the first place.

“The real concerns we have with surgical mesh- in particular ‘sling’ surgeries- are many women were not appropriate candidates for such surgery in the first place and the regulator accepts mesh should only be used ‘as intended’.”