The Ministry of Health's Director-General Dr Ashley Bloomfield has welcomed the chance for New Zealand men and women harmed by surgical mesh to participate in restorative justice forums.
“Forums will be held around the country from later this month to hear from people affected by surgical mesh, and I invite people to register now to tell their story.
“Complications from surgical mesh have caused a considerable amount of pain and suffering for a significant group of people and I have a huge amount of sympathy for every person affected.
"We have already taken steps to limit the use of surgical mesh and improve patient safety. Now we want to hear directly from those who have been harmed and this will guide further action needed to address the ongoing impact on people affected and prevent future harm.
“Earlier this year we ran an online survey, which had over 400 responses, where people told us about the importance of establishing these forums.
“I want to thank patient advocacy group Mesh Down Under for their ongoing work in this area, including helping to co-design these forums," says Dr Bloomfield.
“These forums are being facilitated by a team from the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice at Victoria University of Wellington and will be guided by principles of restorative justice.
"As Director-General of Health, I am committed to doing what I can to ensure New Zealanders who’ve been harmed by surgical mesh are supported and their concerns addressed.
“The Ministry of Health's Chief Nursing Officer Margareth Broodkoorn and Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Simpson are leading this work and we're encouraging anyone affected by surgical mesh to register and share how they have been impacted."
A registration process to participate in a surgical mesh forum is now open. Anyone affected by surgical mesh, either directly, as a family member, whânau or friend, is encouraged to register to participate and share their experience.
The first forums will be held later this month, with sessions available in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin. Other options are also available for those who are unable or don't want to share their experience in person.