Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University.
The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh.
“The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says Julie Anne Genter.
“The recent restorative justice process allowed mesh affected people to open up about their experiences and ensure the health sector and the government heard their voices.
“People have talked about losing the life they had enjoyed before surgical mesh harmed them – the loss of a steady job, the ability to exercise, a loving relationship in some cases. Others described the chronic pain they experienced.
“I hear regularly from people injured by mesh and knew the scale of changes needed is not confined to one person, one agency, or one set of decisions.
“The report highlights what people want to see happen now. People want better acknowledgement of their injuries, bolstered advocacy and psychosocial support.
“Some of the recommendations in the report are already underway while the Ministry is now looking at ways to implement other changes recommended in the report.
“ACC will be working with patient advocacy group Mesh Down Under on a way to look back through declined surgical mesh claims.
“This government has already restricted surgical mesh for Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Stress Urinary Incontinence, as well as brought in a DHB-led registry which will report back early next year.
“The report highlights the need for credentialing surgeons. In New Zealand, we’re currently assessing surgeons against guidance developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care for stress urinary incontinence. As a result, 26 surgeons across ten DHBs have been assessed as meeting this standard.
“This government has also been consulting on the Therapeutic Products Bill. This legislation would see medical devices such as surgical mesh be subject to more stringent conditions before being introduced.
“Worldwide surgical mesh has caused heartache and altered many people’s lives. We’re putting in place steps to make it right for people in New Zealand and to minimise harm for patients in future,” says Julie Anne Genter.