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Ministry of Health to undertake surgical mesh review

MoH are undertaking a surgical mesh review to learn more about what needs to be done to improve patient safety in the future. Today they send out the following message:

“The Government is committed to providing an opportunity for New Zealanders to share their lived experiences of surgical mesh. Hearing from mesh injured New Zealanders is important to help inform what needs to be done to improve patient safety in the future. It will also help to better understand what else needs to be done to support those already affected.

As a first step towards this, on 29 November 2018, the Ministry of Health opened a survey to gain insight into how people who are interested in sharing their story and experience can be supported to do so. For instance, whether they would prefer to tell their story in person or indirectly, for example by letter or email or via video.

The survey closed on 18 January 2019 with 423 submissions received. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey, we greatly appreciate your time and input.

Alongside the responses to the survey questions, many submissions also included comments and information that respondents felt we needed to be aware of. To ensure all of this information is appropriately considered and used, we have arranged for independent analysis to be carried out. This is currently underway.

Once completed, the analysis will inform the arrangements for going out and hearing people's stories. While we are not yet able to give a definitive timeframe for when this will commence, we would like to reassure everyone that we remain committed to this process and are working as quickly as possible to progress it.

At the same time, we also want to ensure we do this properly and take the time to get it right. We are very conscious that this process needs to be well-planned and sensitively managed. We do not want cause further harm or avoidable distress to those who participate. This means we need to be very clear about the purpose and the process we will follow, and ensure people are fully aware of what they can expect. We also recognise that people may need support during and after this process, and therefore we need to ensure that the necessary support structures for all those involved is in place.

Lastly, we are aware that there were others who, for various reasons, were not able to participate in the survey, and we would like to reassure you that you will still have the opportunity to be involved and tell your story.

We aim to provide regular updates to keep you informed of progress and timeframes as soon as they are available.”

“As well as this opportunity to learn from the past, we have been working with Ministry officials on various associated topics, including patient information documentation, surgeon credentialing and the development of a patient care pathway for those that have already been injured by surgical mesh implants. This includes both males and females for hernia mesh implants as well as those with transvaginal and rectopexy mesh – we are ensuring that this is all inclusive” said Carmel Berry, co-founder of Mesh Down Under.

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