Date: Friday April 5, 2019
Location: Citadines on Bourke, Melbourne.
With the conclusion of the Senate Inquiry into transvaginal mesh and the subsequent response by the Federal Government, many among the general public assume that the tragedy of the mesh crisis has been addressed and future injury averted.
Thousands of mesh injured women would disagree, and the emerging crisis of injury related to hernia mesh suggests the worst may still be ahead. The National Forum on Mesh Implants is the opportunity for those who have been affected by mesh to have their collective voices heard and their concerns finally addressed.
The National Mesh Implant Forum is our opportunity to address the unfinished business of mesh.
Pelvic and hernia mesh-injured consumers and carers will have the chance to meet face-to-face with the TGA (Australia’s medical device regulator), health authorities from each state, policy advisors and clinicians across a broad range of relevant disciplines and to thrash out solutions to this ongoing crisis.
The forum will be held just weeks before a likely Federal election in May and provides a real opportunity to influence the health policies of all major parties and independents. With the right people in the room, this forum is a unique, national opportunity to bring about real change.
The event will include a series of concurrent, targeted workshops on harm prevention and treatment, device regulation informed consent and building a unified community response.
The forum will strive for four major outcomes:
1. Post-operation treatment pathways:
State health departments are at different stages of designing and implementing treatment pathways for mesh-affected consumers. Consumers will work alongside health officials at the forum, to compare state responses with a view to developing best-practice guidelines and to ensuring that treatment pathways consider not only the clinical impact of mesh but the economic and social costs.
Outcome: Co-designed national best practice guidelines for post-operative treatment and care.
2. Regulation and policy
Six months after the Federal Government’s response to the Senate Inquiry, the forum will evaluate progress. The workshop will also look more broadly at the systemic failures that enabled the mesh crisis to persist undetected for almost two decades. This includes device regulation, registration, adverse event reporting, credentialing, complaints processing, product withdrawal and regulation of device manufacturers.
Outcome: Scorecard on the Government’s response to the Senate Inquiry and a blueprint for reform.
3. Informed consent
75% of mesh injured consumers believe they were not informed of the potential risk of adverse outcomes and may have made different decisions had they been. The workshop will consider decision making tools could better enable informed consent based on a full disclosure of risks, benefits and options.
Outcome: to create a new, national standard on informed consent.
4. A unified community response
Pelvic and hernia mesh injured consumers and carers will come together at this workshop to consider affiliation between various mesh bodies and define relationships between states and federal jurisdictions.
Outcome: Creation of a unified response to the mesh crisis and the needs of mesh impacted consumers
The Forum is proudly convened by the Health Issues Centre and Health Consumers NSW, Health Consumers Queensland, Health Consumers’ Council (WA), Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia, Health Care Consumers (ACT), Health Consumers Tasmania.
To apply for suuport for travel please complete the EOI Consumer Travel Support Survey
In 2017, Health Issues Centre Victoria (HIC) initiated a public investigation into the unintended injuries caused to thousands of women through the use of trans-vaginal mesh implants as the preferred treatment for pelvic prolapse and urinary stress incontinence. This research has led to far reaching reforms with changes to the information provided to women considering corrective measures, the establishment of care pathways for injured women and changes to the risk rating applied to mesh by the regulator of medical devices, the Therapeutic Goods Administration. HIC is now conducting a public consultation to identify other patterns of malfunction in medical devices and implants. This is a national consultation and the aim is to ensure that faulty devices are removed from the market, and that consumers who have suffered injury are provided with adequate care and remedy.
You can find out more on the HIC investigation here.
You can take the survey here.
HCA in collaboration with the Nation's state’/territory peak health consumer organisations have released a joint media statement in response to the Government’s response to the Senate inquiry into trans vaginal mesh and Minister Greg Hunts apology to women affected by trans vaginal mesh implants. You can view the release below.
You can visit the website here.
HCA’s Chief Executive, Julia Overton was invited to attend a morning tea held in SA Parliament House and hosted by the Pelvic Mesh Awareness Group. The morning brought people with lived experience together with members of parliament, industry experts and SA health. Thank you to the mesh affected women who attended and shared their experiences with us.
There is a SA Health Transvaginal Mesh Strategy in place now which includes:
- a free consumer support line 1800 666 374, staffed 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday
- establishment of The Consumer Advisory Group
- distribution of information via GP newsletters
- commencement of medical record audit
- establishment of The Executive Advisory Group and Clinical Reference Group.
You can find out more here
Pelvic mesh has been used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence since the ‘90s and the majority of women who have had surgical treatment continue to have a good long-term outcome; however, some women have experienced complications. As a result the State Government has established a contact line for women concerned about the safety of pelvic mesh. SA Health has established a governance framework to support affected women & clinical referral pathways are being developed. Consumers can be directed to the Pelvic Mesh Consumer Support Line 9 - 4 Mon-Fri via 1800 66 MESH (1800 666 374). You can find out more here.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care hasfinalised a number of resources and guidance documents to improve health care for women considering the use of transvaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI), and for removal of transvaginal mesh. Find out more here.