Surgical mesh victims get to have their say

People injured by surgical mesh are being asked to share the painful impacts with medical professionals. 

Forums are being held across the country so affected men and women can participate in restorative justice. 

Advocacy group Mesh Down Under co-founder Patricia Sullivan says it will be a supportive environment.

"We need to ensure that this never happens again, and it never takes so long to put better processes in place."

Registration for the forums, designed alongside the Ministry of Health, is open now. 

"We've already taken steps to limit the use of surgical mesh and improve patient safety," said Ministry of Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

"Now we want to hear directly from those who've been harmed, and this will guide further action needed to address the ongoing impact on people affected and prevent future harm."

Mesh is used in a number of surgeries, including for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

It's hoped the Health Minister will take action after hearing victims' stories. 

Sullivan says the stories will then be taken to a second-tier of medical professionals:."We are also calling on David Clark to also be at the second level to personally hear the impact this has had."

She says doctors or surgeons never meant to cause harm.

"I think when they hear the impact this device has had on people's lives, some more definitive action will take place."

The first forums will take place later this month in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. 

Other options are also available for those who are unable or don't want to share their experience in person, the ministry said.