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Politicians still prevaricating over surgical mesh

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Politicians and bureaucrats still prevaricating over surgical mesh

The latest political/bureaucratic failure to act over the desperate situation of patients suffering horrendous consequences of surgical mesh operations gone wrong is again highlighted by government stalling and Medsafe's waffling on National Radio's Nine to Noon programme (31 August), according to Democrats for Social Credit Party health spokesman David Tranter.

Following the government's latest feeble response as reported on Nine to Noon - “The Government last week agreed to recommendations of the Health Select Committee for options to be investigated to set up a surgical mesh registry to record any complications” - Katherine Ryan's interview with Medsafe's Stewart Jessamine produced only feeble excuses for why Medsafe appear to be following the same "hands-off" approach as the politicians.

Given the graphic descriptions of the suffering of large numbers of patients spelled out by the Mesh Down Under group it is inexcusable - and nothing short of inhumane - for officialdom to be seemingly obsessed with, in the government's words, "options to be investigated to set up a surgical mesh registry to record any complications".

How much more evidence to they need to act when Mesh Down Under's Carmel Berry, Charlotte Korte and Patricia Sullivan have repeatedly spelled out the urgency of the situation, Mr. Tranter asked.

Patricia Sullivan's statements on Nine to Noon included reference to the "unbelievable damage” and "excruciating nerve pain" suffered by patients; that 95% of patients were not properly informed of possible complications of mesh, and that 72% of concerns were not taken seriously by surgeons.

When asked by Katherine Ryan why Medsafe don't do something their spokesman Stewart Jessamine replied that they don't have enough data and that according to international evidence, "benefits outweigh risk when used appropriately". This leaves two possibilities for the New Zealand situation; either Medsafe - and the government - don't believe the extensive evidence assembled by Mesh Down Under or, if they do accept their evidence, then mesh is being widely used inappropriately in New Zealand.

It is a further concern that Stewart Jessamine confirmed that in New Zealand there is no assessment of medical devices such as mesh.

Once again the Democrats ask, where is the Minister of Health on this matter? With such widespread suffering continuing how much longer is he going to hide behind the health bureaucracy and the feeble proposals of Parliaments' Health Select Committee?

ENDS

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