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Broken promises on vital surgical mesh register

Broken promises on vital surgical mesh register

The deafening silence from Labour and the Greens on establishing a surgical mesh register is an appalling indictment of a Government that talks big and does little, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Maggie Barry says.

“The Health Minister and the Prime Minister were both strident in their calls for a surgical mesh register when in Opposition. But more than a year after becoming Government they have made no substantial decisions, instead releasing meaningless recommendations.

“What’s worse is that these rather timid Ministry of Health recommendations which were sent to the DHBs are not going to have any effect on the private hospitals and organisations which perform a significant proportion of these mesh procedures. That is why strong political leadership is both essential and urgent.

“When in Opposition, Labour talked big, promising if it went into Government it would immediately start work on a mesh register as a top priority. Instead it has been evasive and delegated responsibility to a minor coalition party.

Greens Acting Associate Health Minister James Shaw is now refusing to meet with ‘Mesh Down Under’, the main advocacy group for this important issue.

“The cost-benefit analysis on a mesh register released to the Government months ago revealed a compelling case for the benefits and supported setting up a register to gather vital data on the incidence and seriousness of injuries to women.

“Taking into account the favourable cost-benefit analysis and significant weight of evidence in the UK and Australia, National is fully committed to bringing in not only a mesh register but one that must be retrospective to gather essential data on past use of these procedures.

“This Government seems to have largely ignored the new international evidence and sat on the cost-benefit advice for months. It’s clear that its campaign rhetoric to act urgently was simply paying lip service to a high-profile issue to gain votes.

“The Government’s announcement in September introducing what it described as ‘strong safeguards’ are nowhere near enough to satisfy the growing concern on this issue.

“Minister David Clark and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern both promised to create a register and National calls on them to do so without delay and keep their word to these vulnerable people who are expecting them to keep their promises.”

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