Ministry continuing surgical mesh work following strong response to restorative justice process

Media release

15 November 2019

The Ministry of Health has now heard more than 600 stories from those who have been affected by surgical mesh, through an innovative restorative justice process. 

The Ministry’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Simpson says the process has been an important one for the women and men harmed by surgical mesh as well as for those hearing the stories. 

“Over the past few months, mesh injured New Zealanders, their families and health professionals have shared with us their stories about the harms and injury sustained from surgery involving surgical mesh. It's been hard to hear these stories. 

“A clear picture of the harms, injuries and needs created by surgical mesh complications has emerged. We know that the impact on the lives of mesh injured New Zealanders and their families has been significant and life-changing. 

“Sharing deeply personal stories isn’t easy and we’re really thankful for people’s involvement and willingness to be a part of this.” 

A team from the Diana Unwin Chair in Restorative Justice at Victoria University of Wellington has been involved in facilitating this process which was also co-designed with the patient advocacy group Mesh Down Under. Next month that team will provide the Ministry with a report summarising the harms and needs expressed by those affected. 

"A number of key agencies from across the health sector are now coming together to determine next steps and actions to respond to those harms and needs.  This includes Mesh Down Under, ACC, the Medical and Nursing Councils, a number of professional colleges, the Health & Disability Commission, the Health Quality & Safety Commission, Medsafe, and the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association,” says Dr Simpson. 

“We appreciate the willingness of these organisations to come together to identify and commit to actions to restore wellbeing and reduce and prevent future harm." 

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