Surgical mesh reform a failure - campaigners

  • 17/03/2018
The government announced in December that the use of surgical mesh products in urogynaecological (transvaginal) surgeries would be limited.
The government announced in December that the use of surgical mesh products in urogynaecological (transvaginal) surgeries would be limited. Photo credit: file

Government measures that restrict the use of surgical mesh are a "smokescreen" and do not protect the majority of patients, campaigners say.

The Government announced in December that the use of surgical mesh products in urogynaecological (transvaginal) surgeries would be limited.

Suppliers are also now required to include details of adverse effects of surgical mesh on the products, including severe chronic pain, groin pain and bladder perforation.

But advocacy group Mesh Down Under says the recent ban of some mesh products has failed to improve safety for the majority of patients.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the group asked for an independent commissioner to review surgical mesh products and make changes to the regulation and monitoring of these products.

Mesh Down Under co-founder Charlotte Korte told Stuff that the group were initially stoked with the government restrictions but realised shortly after it was a "smokescreen".

Updated product information would do little to protect patients, while companies withdrawing from supplying surgical mesh in New Zealand created more risk.

"Surgeons will have to use unfamiliar products, and what guidelines are in place for that? And patients need to be informed the surgeon hasn't used the device before."

Mesh Down Under also expressed their disappointment in the letter that Medsafe had failed to provide a cost-benefit analysis for a mesh register.

Medsafe chief executive Chris James told Stuff the analysis would be completed by May.

NZN