NHS England is putting an immediate curb on mesh operations after safety concerns.
It has accepted the advice of a new review looking at harm reported by women who received the treatment for stress urinary incontinence.
The review’s chair, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, said she was “appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories” that her team had heard.
Many women say the implants caused them agony by cutting into tissue.
Some say they have been left with life-changing injuries.
Claire Cooper, who had the implants, mistakenly had a hysterectomy after doctors were unable to diagnose what was causing her pain. She was left feeling suicidal and unable to have sex.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 UK women have had a mesh fitted. The net-like fabric can be attached into the wall of the vagina to act as a scaffold to support organs, such as the bladder, to keep them in the right place to help manage incontinence or another condition called prolapse.
Most patients suffer no ill effects, NHS England says.
Not a total ban
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said mesh would remain a treatment of last resort for some: “Carefully selected patients will continue to have access in discussion with their consultant.”
Baroness Cumberlege said the independent review found no evidence on the benefits for treating urinary incontinence that would outweigh “the severity of human suffering caused by mesh complications”.
“My team and I are in no doubt that this pause is necessary. We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries. We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment.
“At this stage in our review we are not recommending a ban, but a halt to procedures.”
The pause can be lifted if certain checks and measures are met by March 2019, says the review team.
This includes keeping a register of every procedure and any complications.
To date, it’s still unclear how many women have been adversely affected by mesh. The government is carrying out an audit to try to find out.
The health watchdog NICE has already recommended that vaginal mesh operations for treating organ prolapse should largely be stopped in England.
The use of vaginal mesh to treat urinary incontinence was not mentioned in the draft NICE guidelines, however.
A number of Scottish health boards have already stopped using mesh implants altogether, and in Wales the procedures are seen as a ‘last resort’.
The safety review chaired by Baroness Cumberlege is also looking at concerns about a hormone pregnancy test called Primodos and an epilepsy drug called sodium valproate, which have both been linked to birth defects.
Mesh used for bowel patients (rectopexy) has not been included in the temporary suspension.
Brexit Secretary David Davis, who has been leading UK negotiations to leave the EU, has resigned from government.
He told the BBC that he was no longer the best person to deliver the PM’s Brexit plan – agreed by the cabinet on Friday – as he did not “believe” in it.
He said the “career-ending” decision was a personal one but he felt the UK was “giving away too much and too easily” to the EU in the negotiations.
Mrs May said she did not agree but thanked him for his work.
The resignation is a blow to Mrs May as she seeks to win over Eurosceptic MPs to her proposed Brexit vision.
The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 after a referendum was held in 2016, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU afterwards.
There have been differences within the Conservative Party over how far the UK should prioritise the economy by compromising on issues such as leaving the remit of the European Court of Justice and ending free movement of people.
Mrs May’s Conservative Party only has a majority in Parliament with the support in key votes of the 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, so any split raises questions about whether her plan could survive a Commons vote – and has also led to renewed questions about whether she will face a challenge to her position.
In his resignation letter, Mr Davis told Mrs May that “the current trend of policy and tactics” was making it “look less and less likely” that the UK would leave the customs union and single market.
He said he was “unpersuaded” that the government’s negotiating approach “will not just lead to further demands for concessions” from Brussels.
Mr Davis, who was appointed Brexit Secretary in 2016, said: “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.”
In her reply, Mrs May said: “I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet on Friday.”
She said she was “sorry” he was leaving but would “like to thank you warmly for everything you have done… to shape our departure from the EU”.
‘Odd man out’
Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he had objected to Theresa May’s plan at the Chequers meeting, telling cabinet colleagues at the outset that he was “the odd man out”.
He said it was “not tenable” for him to stay in post and try and persuade Tory MPs to back the policy when he did not think it was “workable”.
“The best person to do this is someone who really believes in it, not me.”
He said he feared the EU would seek to further water down the UK’s plans and his resignation would make it easier for the UK to resist attempts to extract further concessions.
But Mr Davis insisted he continued to back Theresa May, saying that if he “wanted to bring her down”, the time would have been after she failed to win last year’s general election outright.
A leadership contest now would be “the wrong thing to do”, adding: “I won’t throw my hat into the ring.”
Eurosceptic MP Steve Baker has also resigned. He played a leading role in the Brexit campaign in the run up to the 2016 referendum. He was promoted to the Department for Exiting the EU as a parliamentary under-secretary in June last year.
Conservative MP Peter Bone hailed Mr Davis’s resignation as a “principled and brave decision”, adding: “The PM’s proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable.”
Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: “This is absolute chaos and Theresa May has no authority left.”
After many months of rumours that he would pull the plug, David Davis has actually quit as Brexit Secretary.
His unhappiness in government has been no secret for some time, but after the prime minister’s Chequers agreement with cabinet ministers to pursue closer ties with the EU than he desired, he found his position untenable.
After a visit to Downing Street on Sunday he concluded that he had no choice but to walk.
The move, while not completely surprising, throws doubt on to how secure the government’s Brexit strategy is.
Mrs May is due to address MPs on Monday afternoon and is expected to tell MPs that the strategy agreed by the cabinet at Chequers on Friday is the “right Brexit” for Britain.
Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be “very difficult” for Mrs May’s plans to win the backing of MPs without Mr Davis.
He told BBC 5 Live: “These proposals will have to come to the House of Commons in legislation and the question is ‘will they command support from Conservative MPs?’
“And I think without David Davis there, without his imprimatur, it will be very difficult for them to get the support of Conservative MPs and therefore the prime minister would be well advised to reconsider them.”
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she understands Mr Davis was “furious” after a meeting at No 10 earlier on Sunday and “concluded he could not stay in post”.
The resignation came as people awaited the verdicts of senior figures from the Brexit side of the 2016 referendum. There has yet been no on the record comment from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnon, while Environment Secretary Michael Gove told the BBC on Sunday he was urging Tory MPs to support Mrs May.
One of the leading pro-Remain Conservative MPs Anna Soubry, did not refer directly to Mr Davis’s resignation, but tweeted it was “not the time for egos, grandstanding and blind ideology”.
The director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, said the resignation was “a blow”, adding that business had welcomed the agreement of ministers on Friday.
Meanwhile, some Remain-supporting politicians said the resignation was evidence of the need for a second referendum.
Lord Adonis, a prominent backer of a second vote, tweeted: “People’s Vote to put Brexit out of its misery a big step closer after DD’s resignation. Now the Brexiteers holding Mrs May hostage are falling out, there isn’t a majority for any withdrawal treaty in Parliament.”
The Liberal Democrats called on people to sign a petition for a vote on the proposed deal, adding: “The resignation of David Davis is yet more evidence of the chaos of this Tory Brexit. You deserve the final say”.
Nigel Farage congratulated Mr Davis for quitting and called for Mrs May to be replaced as prime minister, accusing her of being “duplicitous” and claiming her response “shows she is controlled by the civil service”.
Police have launched a murder inquiry after a woman exposed to nerve agent Novichok in Wiltshire died.
Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in hospital on Sunday evening after falling ill on 30 June.
Charlie Rowley, 45, who was also exposed to the nerve agent in Amesbury, remains critically ill in hospital.
Theresa May said she was “appalled and shocked” by the death, which comes after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
A post-mortem examination of Ms Sturgess, from Durrington, is due to take place and her family has been informed, police said.
The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter-Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working on the case alongside Wiltshire Police.
Officers are still trying to work out how Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley were exposed to the nerve agent although tests have confirmed they touched a contaminated item with their hands.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter-Terrorism policing, said: “This is shocking and tragic news. Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.
“The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well.”
Mr Basu said the death “has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act”.
He said: “Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life.”
Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital where Ms Sturgess died, said it was “desperately sad” and she expressed condolences to the 44-year-old’s family.
She said: “The staff here at Salisbury District Hospital worked tirelessly to save Dawn. Our staff are talented, dedicated and professional and I know today they will be hurting too.
Mrs May sent her “thoughts and condolences” and said officials are “working urgently to establish the facts”.
She said: “The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy.”
British diplomat Julian King, the European Commissioner responsible for the EU’s security union, said: “Those behind this are murderers.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “shocked”, adding: “A full and thorough police investigation must now establish the facts, provide support to the local community and bring those responsible to justice.”
Public Health England said the risk to the general public “remains low”.
Professor Paul Cosford said: “As a precaution we still advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers.”
He also said people in five locations between 22:00 BST on 29 June and 18:30 on 30 June continue to follow advice, namely: “Wash your clothes in a washing machine and to keep your items double-bagged and securely fastened, if they are dry-clean only.”
Those locations are Muggleton Road, Boots pharmacy and the Baptist church in Amebsury, and John Baker House and Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.
Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire police and crime commissioner, said he was “horrified and appalled”.
He said: “Ms Sturgess was an innocent member of the public who should have been able to go about her daily life without becoming an unwilling victim in such an unprecedented, international, incident.”
By BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner
The working hypothesis is that the pair became contaminated after touching a poison container left over from the March attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
The death of Dawn Sturgess, a British citizen on British soil, now changes the investigation to a murder inquiry, with all the diplomatic and security ramifications that carries.
Britain has been blaming Moscow for the original attack in March, saying there is no plausible alternative to the Kremlin having ordered the assassination attempt.
Russia has denied any involvement, suggesting instead this was the action of a weak British government looking to undermine the success of the current World Cup being hosted by Russia.
The next few days are likely to see further accusations and counter-accusations.
The poisoning of the Skripals, both of whom spent weeks in hospital before being discharged, was blamed by the UK government on Russia.
Russian authorities denied any involvement.
After the hospitalisation of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley, Mr Javid accused the Russian state of using Britain as a “dumping ground for poison”.
The Russian Embassy hit back, accusing the government of trying to “muddy the waters” and “frighten its own citizens”.
In a statement, the Met Police said the possibility the poisoning of the Skripals and Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are linked is a “clear line of inquiry”.
A spokesman said the investigators are “not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skirpals were exposed to”.
He also said: “There is no evidence that (Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley) visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.”