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Government failing to deliver on surgical mesh promises

The Labour-led Government is failing to deliver on a promise to address issues surrounding surgical mesh, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Maggie Barry says.

“When Labour was in Opposition, they were ferocious about the urgency of this issue and the need to set up a register, as well as investing in research and data collection.

“Yet at the Health estimates hearing this week it was very apparent the Minister had very little idea and had delegated the issue to a junior Minister outside Cabinet, while Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield stepped in and could not offer any new information.

“Dr Clark claims there is urgency on the issue but this is not apparent. More than a year and a half since taking office this Government is not fulfilling the lofty promises it made and mesh groups are describing the attitude as a kick in the guts.

“All the Minister seems to have done is write letters to the DHBs asking for their co-operation in compiling information at a local level. Even the easiest step to take, which would be to establish a code for surgical mesh products, has not been implemented.

“The numbers stack up as well, with a Deloitte study last year showing the benefits would far outweigh the cost.

“National has committed to setting up a comprehensive retrospective register of all women and men who have surgical mesh implanted and the brand of mesh used in these operations. Australia, England and Scotland have already implemented this measure so there’s no reason for New Zealand to be falling behind.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Government talk about wellbeing, but if that’s the case then this should be a matter of urgency for those women and men suffering from the effects of failed mesh surgeries.”

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