‘Mesh Down Under’ frustrated with lack of progress in New Zealand

Guest Post:

Despite a continued campaign over the last seven years by Mesh Down Under to highlight the severity of surgical mesh complications and to avoid the unnecessary escalation of surgical mesh injuries, nothing much has changed.

MOH Official Dr Stewart Jessamine (Director Protection, Regulation and Assurance) appears reluctant to make progress towards implementing change, spending precious MOH resources on a cost: benefit analysis for a register of mesh implants, whilst the injury rates from surgical mesh continue to climb.

Screenshot from July 2005-31 October 2017 PDF of ACC data prepared for Mesh Down Under by ACC


We have written to the health minister Hon David Clark imploring him to get things moving. We have urged him to reconsider undertaking a cost: benefit analysis for a register and instead just get on with the job- to provide the resources and funding to do exactly what the Health Select Committee recommended, create a mesh implant registry.

Both the Royal Australasian College of Obstetrics & Gynaecologists and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RANZCOG & RACS) have made statements regarding the importance of registries, this advice needs to be heeded by the MOH, especially considering that surgical mesh complications have destroyed so many lives.


Mr Richard Lander, the RACS Executive Director of Surgical Affairs for New Zealand said “Registries allow us to collect and analyse data on patients following particular procedures. We use this information to review how clinical teams, hospitals and devices are performing, to identify problems early and, ultimately, to inform improvements in health care for patients.”


In its Submission to the Australian Senate inquiry

RANZCOG says: ?It was noted that the Royal Australian College of Surgeons are concerned about the registry being specific for pelvic floor as surgical mesh is used in other sites in the body (e.g. hernia repairs) so it is important that if a registry is established, that it should be centralised to encourage general surgeons to use the registry as well urogynaecologists.


We need Dr Clark to assure us that he WILL make mesh a priority. We have asked him to provide funding for the MOH to implement a collaborative retrospective multi-centre research study, separately to HRC funding. This is essential in order to get a thorough understanding of the severity and true impact of surgical mesh complications on NZ patients. Mesh Down Under were thrilled to hear the oral questions yesterday in parliament:

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman asks the Minister of Health: What does he say in reply to Newsroom.co.nz’s statement of 4 December that the “Labour-led Government’s response to New Zealand’s surgical mesh problems is not what it campaigned on.”, given that he promised to immediately begin work on a surgical mesh registry if elected?

Hon Dr David Clark replied: I’m delighted to update the member. He will know that when he was the Minister, there was a great deal of discontent over the time it was taking to respond to the Government’s select committee inquiry. One of the demands from that inquiry?the select committee recommendations?was that a registry be put in place. I will update the member shortly on even more promising progress.

We eagerly await this important announcement, it is great to hear that Dr Clark will be more proactive in dealing with the surgical mesh scandal.


Co-founders: Charlotte Korte, Carmel Berry, Patricia Sullivan

Photo provided-Whaleoil
Co-founders of Mesh Down Under, Charlotte (left) Carmel ( Middle) Patricia (right).