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Action needed over continuing mesh surgery crisis

Saturday 5 July 2014

Action not inquiries needed over continuing mesh surgery crisis

Annette King's call for an inquiry into the use of mesh in surgery misses the point in that it is action, not inquiries, that are needed since all the information about mesh is well documented, according to Democrats health spokesman David Tranter.

One of the Democrats' advisors, a specialist general physician with a long interest in these issues, responded to Labour's call as follows; "Polypropylene mesh problems don't need an inquiry; problems and potential solutions are well documented. What the problem needs are preventive measures and action to manage the mess. An inquiry into it at this stage would simply further delay corrective action and is a total waste of resources without any gains".

He further commented on, "the need for a network of experts who are capable of removing the mesh. Obviously greater expertise is needed and some surgeons may need procedural training in alternative methods which don't use polypropylene mesh".

Mesh Down Under spokesperson Carmel Berry told us, "We were advised by the Clerk of the House of Representatives to create a petition that was very broad, enabling the Committee to consider detailed submissions and decide how best to deal with the evidence. This issue is constantly evolving and when we initiated it we considered that the best step forward was an inquiry which would show the committee the extent of the mesh scandal. Since the Scottish Parliament last week announced that they are suspending pelvic mesh surgeries we have asked our committee to also make urgent recommendations to achieve the outcomes outlined in our submission. We realise that there would be a delay if we awaited a the outcome of a full inquiry".

The Democrats endorse all the above, and since the current minister of health - who is soon retiring from politics to go into the private sector - habitually claims that it is not appropriate for him to be involved in DHB matters we repeat our earlier call for the public and the candidates to make this an election issue in order to put pressure on whoever takes over as health minister in September.

If Mrs. King is genuine in her expressed concerns about mesh the Democrats challenge her to promise she will initiate action, not inquiries, should she become the health minister after the elections, Mr. Tranter said.


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