Skip links and navigation

Our work

Transvaginal Mesh

UNFINISHED BUSINESS – A NATIONAL FORUM ON THE IMPACT OF MESH IMPLANTS

Health Consumers Queensland continues to support consumer co-design in the development of a statewide, multidisciplinary service for mesh affected Queensland women.  If you haven’t already, please sign up to Queensland Health’s email contact list, to be advised on how to access the clinic when it opens:

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/patient-safety/transvaginal-mesh/support-treatment-pelvic-mesh

In addition to this work, we are co-hosting a national forum with our equivalent organisations around the country, with funding assistance from several state health departments including Queensland Health.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS – A NATIONAL FORUM ON THE IMPACT OF MESH IMPLANTS

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.

  • 9am-5pm
  • Friday April 5, 2019
  • Citadines on Bourke, Melbourne

Register to attend here: http://tiny.cc/eventbritemeshforum

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.

Read more  

New Statewide Pelvic Mesh Service

Health Consumers Queensland has been honoured to support the codesign and Ministerial announcement today of the location of the new statewide Queensland Pelvic Mesh Service based out of the Gold Coast, to open in the first half of 2019.

See below for a statement from our CEO Melissa Fox.

Today is a momentous and emotional day for mesh affected women in Queensland and their advocates.

Thank you to the individual woman who originally brought this issue to our organisation’s attention. Today was for you.

Thank you to the women who bravely shared with us and Queensland Health your most intimate and awful experiences of being let down by our health system. What you so clearly articulated as your health needs, have formed the basis of the model of service that will be delivered.

That so many of you hadn’t been listened to and taken care of by the health professionals that you trusted, is an indictment on how we treat mothers in our society. Hopefully today is another step towards your healing and you receiving the care that you need to live your best lives possible.

To the women who have guided the development of this service, thank you for your patience and ongoing commitment.

Thank you to the Clinical Excellence Queensland in Queensland Health and the Health Minister Steven Miles MP. You have listened with compassion, respect, at times horror at the experiences the women have shared and most of all a solid commitment to Queensland meeting the health needs of these women.

Read more  

MEDIA RELEASE – GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO SENATE MESH INQUIRY

10 October 2018 Sorry is a Good First Step

Peak consumer health groups around Australia have welcomed Health Minister Greg Hunt’s apology to women whose lives have been severely impacted by trans vaginal mesh implants.

“We congratulate the Minister for recognising that these women have waited too long for validation from a system that treated them as unreliable witnesses to their own pain and suffering.” “But ‘sorry’ is just a good first step. It doesn’t in itself deliver a happy ending.”

While the government has supported 12 of the 13 recommendations of the Senate’s Inquiry into TVM, half of these are supported in principle rather than in substance. In fact the only tangible initiative is the announcement of a Clinical Quality Register for urogynaelogical procedures and even that commitment is capped at “considering the feasibility” of establishing such a register.

Glaringly absent is any new funding to resource integrated care pathways for affected women.

“We are concerned that State and territory support for mesh affected women has to date been inconsistent and patchy with attempts at meaningful co-design of care pathways happening only in a small number of states.

“These women must be central to the design of appropriately resourced and compassionate, multidisciplinary care that includes access to removal by skilled clinicians, pain management and psychological support. We call upon COAG to direct the states and territories to work together to ensure a nationally consistent service response to women’s healthcare needs.

“While the federal Health Minister has kicked the mesh can down the road to the States he is also calling for system reform through institutional self-regulation. Expecting the various bodies that failed their duty of care to pick up their game without addressing their accountability is a forlorn expectation.”

“Further expecting the TGA to improve its adverse event reporting is at odds with the fact that they have registered 364 events to date compared with the 1,000 women who are parties to class action and the 2,400 women who have reported their experiences directly to consumer health groups. “The Minister needs to act decisively on the question of credentialing surgeons and on mandating informed consent (70% of affected women did not give informed prior consent to their procedure). While we applaud the few substantive initiatives announced in this response, a reliance on nonbinding guidelines and self-regulation by bodies that have failed to self-regulate will not wish the problems of mesh away.

For comment and further information contact:

Melissa Fox (Health Consumers Queensland) 04048 2716 / 07 3012 9090

Danny Vadasz (Health Issues Centre, Victoria) 03 8676 9050

Anthony Brown (Health Consumers New South Wales) 02 9986 1082

Julia Overton (HCA SA) 08 8231 4169 Pip Brennan (Health Consumers WA) 08 9221 3422

Darlene Cox (ACT HCCA) 02 6230 7800


Open letter to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

This letter has been submitted to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care by each state’s Pelvic Mesh Support Groups and the Health Consumer organisations in each State and Territory across Australia, asking the Commission to comprehensively address the recommendations tabled in the Senate Report (see below post).

Excerpt:

This letter is a joint appeal from each state’s Pelvic Mesh Support Groups and the current Health Consumer organisations in each State and Territory across Australia. On behalf of all mesh injured women of Australia, and those who may in the future access treatment for stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse we write to you, the Australia Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare to comprehensively address the recommendations tabled in the above report. We need and value your support in addressing the urgent call for action to prioritise the management of this medical disaster that is crippling Australian women and their families.

Women from the Support Groups are struggling with lifelong complications, physical and mental ill health, pain, suffering, financial burden and significant loss of life as they knew it. They feel that there needs to be a dramatic cultural change in treatment, reflected from the top and ensured by ACSQHC.

There is a significant lack of trust in the medical treatment these women have received; they have been dismissed, ignored and gaslighted into believing their ailments were “all in our heads”. As Senator Rachel Siewert, Chair of the Senate Inquiry, stated in her report release speech: They have suffered for so long without being heard. They have not been believed. In some cases, they’ve been belittled. They have been ignored. Well, for no longer shall they be ignored.

Appropriate pathways for lifelong care are now required. A trauma based model is needed for treatment moving forward; together with empowerment for all women at every stage of their journey.

Download full PDF letter >


Senate report into transvaginal mesh released

The Senate have released their report into transvaginal mesh.

Joint State/Territory Peaks Media Release

Vindication for mesh injured women: but suspend mesh until after audit results

Australia’s state and territory based health consumer organisations have welcomed the recognition of the extent and impact of harm to women, and the recommendations contained in the report from the Senate Inquiry into transvaginal mesh implants released yesterday. But they say they hoped the report had gone further.

“We are very pleased that the Senate’s recommendations reflecting our calls to strengthen provisions for informed consent, only using mesh as a last resort, requiring mandatory reporting of complications, establishing a register (which should be retrospective and for all transvaginal mesh devices) and having the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care do an audit of transvaginal mesh procedures in Australia. The Commission must be resourced to do this in a timely manner and the audit should also include procedures done by private specialists” said state and territory consumer peaks spokesperson Melissa Fox, CEO of Health Consumers Queensland.

“However until the community sees this accurate, retrospective data we won’t know just how many women have been harmed by all types of mesh including POP, tapes and slings.  We are disappointed that a more cautious approach wasn’t taken, to recommend the suspension in use of all mesh until the data is in to establish their safety and efficacy.  These devices will continue to be implanted in women in hospitals across Australia tomorrow, and not one more woman should be unwittingly subjected to this high-stakes surgical intervention until we can be assured of their safety”, said Ms Fox.

Read more  

Survey updates

Women who have had mesh surgically implanted to treat vaginal prolapse or urinary incontinence were invited to respond to a survey from Australia’s state, territory and national peak consumer groups, including Health Consumers Queensland. The experiences reported will be vital to inform a joint Senate submission being drafted by our organizations.

(Note that mesh can also be referred to as tape, a sling, or TVT)

This survey is now closed. Health Issues Centre would like to thank all of the women who have bravely shared their experiences of pelvic mesh implants. We will continue working on behalf of all mesh injured women. You can follow updates on http://www.facebook.com/UnderstandingPelvicMesh .


General information

Information sheet on transvaginal mesh

Story from The Project on transvaginal mesh implants

The Project’s page with further information, links & statements (please note that they currently have the incorrect address listed for the Qld complaints body, the correct address being http://www.oho.qld.gov.au/)

Information from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) organised a series of consumer consultation forums with the assistance of state health consumer councils in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney from January to March 2017. The intent was to provide consumers with the opportunity to provide information about their experience of transvaginal mesh treatment to inform the development of patient decision support resources.

Thirty-one women participated in the forums, either in person or by telephone. All but one of the women who participated in the forums had experienced complications following transvaginal mesh treatment, and the majority of participants had been treated for stress urinary incontinence.

The common themes and issues raised by women who attended the forums are summarised on this page.


Support

If you are after information and support from women, please visit the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group.


Senate Inquiry

A Senate inquiry is being held in Australia on the number of women in Australia who have had transvaginal mesh implants and related matters. Women were invited to share their experiences via submissions. The submissions closed on 31 May 2017.

Health Consumers Queensland is feeding into a joint submission from the state and territory peak consumer organisations across Australia.  Our equivalent organisation in Victoria, Health Issues Centre, has created a time-limited Facebook page to gather feedback from consumers to inform this submission. All information will be used without identifying the respondent.