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Mesh surgeries to be halted in New Zealand because of safety concerns

The use of surgical mesh to treat a common childbirth injury is now suspended in New Zealand because of safety concerns.

The extraordinary step, which follows a similar move in the United Kingdom, was announced today by Te Whatu Ora.

It is being celebrated by a woman who spearheaded a campaign to highlight the harrowing mesh injuries suffered by her and many other Kiwi women. “It is an acknowledgement that their concerns were not just in their heads,” Sally Walker told the Herald. “It will give us some hope.”

About 100 women around the country who are on waiting lists for urogynaecological surgeries involving mesh are being contacted by doctors to tell them their operations for stress urinary incontinence are on hold.

The Director-General of Health Dr Diana Sarfati said the Surgical Mesh Roundtable (MRT), an oversight and monitoring group chaired by the Ministry of Health, had been investigating a “pause” since earlier this year.

The group’s assessment was that the balance of benefit and harm from the procedure would be improved by the series of additional measures already planned, and it recommended a pause until those measures were substantively in place.

“After considering the MRT’s assessment, I have decided to support a pause to allow the following steps to be put in place to reduce the harms linked to the procedure as much as possible,” said Sarfati.

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Source: NZ Herald, 22 August 2023


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