The Scottish Government has set up a £1 million fund to help women affected by vaginal mesh surgery.
Women who have endured “hardship” following painful complications from the procedure could receive a one-off payment of £1,000 to help with the costs of physical or emotional support.
Applications will open in July and the scheme will run until June 2021.
The Scottish Government has insisted the payments are not compensation for “any perceived wrongdoing by the NHS”, and they are also not a replacement for benefits paid to anyone left unable to work because of medical problems.
The fund will be run by NHS National Services Scotland.
It comes after the Scottish Government halted the use of transvaginal mesh in September 2018, with Health Secretary Jeane Freeman having made clear there is no prospect of this being reintroduced in the NHS.
Ms Freeman said ministers have “listened carefully to the views and experiences of the women affected when setting up this fund”.
She added: “We have made the application process as simple and straightforward as possible and hope the fund will help those who experienced hardship as a result of the complications caused by mesh implants.
“We recognise the physical and emotional effects that mesh complications have had on women and we have already taken strong and decisive action, including halting the use of transvaginal mesh, developing a case note review and establishing a complex pelvic mesh removal service.”
SNP MSP and former health secretary Alex Neil, who has worked to highlight the impact of mesh implants, said the fund is “an important step towards improving the lives of some of the women who have suffered from the devastating effects of mesh implants”.
He said: “Mesh complications have physically and emotionally impacted those affected, as well as their families, and I hope that this £1 million fund will help to alleviate some of that suffering.
“This move to support the women affected by mesh complications will be welcomed by sufferers, campaigners and politicians alike.”
Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw also welcomed the fund but called on ministers to do more to help affected women.
He said: “This is a welcome first step on the road to a just settlement for women who have suffered unimaginable pain and distress.
“Now it’s essential they have the option for the mesh to be removed altogether.
“Working with these campaigners has been a privilege and they deserve to be commended for getting this far.
“But there is plenty more to do and the SNP Government should be treating this as a starting point rather than a solution.”