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Report: Stories of Survivors of Surgical Mesh

Hearing and Responding to the Stories of Survivors of Surgical Mesh
Ngā korero a ngā mōrehu – he urupare


This report, commissioned by the Ministry of Health from Victoria University’s Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice, summarises the themes that emerged from a restorative process to hear from New Zealand men and women affected by surgical mesh.

Between August and October 2019 over six hundred mesh injured people shared their stories through either one of 32 forums held throughout New Zealand or to an online database. Additional stories were heard from family and whānau of people affected by mesh and health professionals.

The report highlights the severity of the harm and the impact on the lives of those who experience complications from surgical mesh.

Mesh injured New Zealanders have described life-changing physical and psychosocial harms including losses to their physical wellbeing, relationships, identity, employment and financial status. They also expressed a loss of trust in healthcare providers and institutions.

The report groups the needs to address surgical mesh harm into the following workstreams:

• credentialling of surgeons
• specialist multidisciplinary mesh services
• informed consent
• safety culture and systems
• acknowledgment of harm
• responding to mesh harm both now and in the future.

Actions required to address these were discussed at a workshop in November 2019 attended by the Ministry, patient advocates Mesh Down Under, ACC, the Medical and Nursing Councils, professional colleges, the Health & Disability Commission, the Health Quality & Safety Commission and the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association.

Actions agreed to as part of this meeting are included in the report.

The Ministry is committed to progressing these actions and working with the other agencies to support those who’ve been affected and minimise future harm.

Report: respondingtoharmfromsurgicalmeshdec19.pdf

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