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Hearing the stories of mesh survivors

Hearing the stories of mesh survivors

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) acknowledges the pain and suffering of New Zealand women who have experienced serious complications from pelvic mesh implants. Hearing the stories of survivors through the Victoria University restorative process has been powerful and we are very sorry that the well-intentioned actions of our profession resulted in such harm.

RANZCOG is fully committed to ensuring the highest standard of care for women who have suffered as a result of pelvic mesh implants. We believe it is vital that specialist multi-disciplinary teams (centres) are established and funded to provide access to the range of services that women need to address mesh issues.  It is also vital that a robust credentialing system provides assurance about the competence of surgeons undertaking mesh related procedures. RANZCOG will be actively involved in Ministry of Health groups beginning work next month to make sure that these, and other actions agreed as part of the restorative process, are implemented.

RANZCOG wants to ensure that obstetric and gynaecology specialists learn from the stories of the survivors of surgical mesh, and that this results in better practice around genuinely informed consent and understanding of the decisions involved in proceeding with surgery. The report ‘Hearing and Responding to the Stories of Survivors of Surgical Mesh | Ngā kōrero a ngā morehu – he urupare’ will be distributed to all our doctors and trainees as important, and compelling, reading.

RANZCOG has developed a number of guidance statements for doctors, that undergo regular review when new evidence or recommendations are published. RANZCOG has also published a range of information brochures for women, including an information brochure on pelvic mesh removal in New Zealand that can be found at: https://ranzcog.edu.au/Mesh-Resources.

We would like to express our genuine appreciation and respect for the women and men who told their very harrowing stories so that we could understand.  Building trust between patients and doctors is important and we believe learning from the past is crucial to improving future care for patients.

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