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Impact of surgical mesh being heard

The Ministry is midway through a process of listening to the experiences of New Zealand men and women who have been harmed as a result of surgical mesh.

“While there is increasing awareness, both in New Zealand and overseas, about the complications and risks associated with the use of surgical mesh, people who had been harmed by mesh told us they wanted a chance to share their experience”, says Chief Nursing Officer Margareth Broodkoorn.

“That is what this opportunity is about and we are heartened by feedback from those who have attended the public forums that this is proving a positive experience. “But it is also important to emphasise that this is just a first step in a broader process to understand and respond to the needs of people harmed by mesh and improve patient safety."

The stories being shared in person, in writing, and by audio or video format are being independently analysed by a team from Victoria University’s Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, who are also facilitating the forums.

A report will be provided to the Ministry before the end of the year, which will identify the key themes and issues expressed by those affected. The report will be made publicly available and the approach, which was designed in partnership with the advocacy group Mesh Down Under, will be evaluated in early 2020.

“We know that those who have been impacted and have taken the time and effort to share their stories with us want to see action”, says the Ministry's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Simpson.

“It is important that we see this process through and allow everyone the chance to be heard, but I want to reassure people that the Ministry is committed to responding to the issues that are highlighted.

“We are also engaging with other interested organisations, including ACC, the Health & Disability Commission, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Medical Council of New Zealand, to ensure we work together on next steps."

Anyone affected by surgical mesh who has not shared their story already is encouraged to do so. They can do so in writing or by audio or video through the website until 31 October 2019.


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