Labour has called for an independent inquiry into the use
of surgical mesh because of the harm it has caused patients.
A patient group presented a submission to Parliament's health
select committee in Wellington yesterday, urging the
Government to take action.
Labour's health spokeswoman Annette King said Health Minister
Tony Ryall should instigate an independent inquiry.
''Growing international concern and actions by other health
regulators over complications involving this product should
have set off alarm bells.
''Thousands of women in the US and the UK have taken lawsuits
against manufacturers of the mesh after suffering
complications as a result of receiving implants.''
ACC figures showed more than 400 patients lodged claims
between 2010 and 2013, but the actual number of adverse
reactions was unknown, Ms King said.
''It is not good enough for sufferers to be fobbed off or
pushed between district health boards and ACC.''
Mr Ryall told the ODT in an emailed response that
recent reviews overseas concluded the complication rate of
surgical mesh was lower than ''traditional methods and did
not pose an unreasonable safety risk to patients''.
''I'm satisfied Medsafe has taken appropriate measures with
regard to surgical mesh products.''
Medsafe had worked with professional colleges on advice and
training for surgeons, and appropriate selection of patients.
''As well, it has been emphasised that there is a
professional responsibility to inform patients about risks
and benefits of surgery using mesh, as all types of surgery
can have complications.''
Mesh Down Under founder Carmel Berry, who presented the
submission, told the ODT Labour's call for an inquiry
was ''fantastic news''.