Labour calls for inquiry into surgical mesh use

Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall
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.

Annette King
Annette King
''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''.


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