Australian Federal Health Minister, Hon. Greg Hunt MP announces to the National Mesh Forum audience via videolink, $2.3 million funding for a National Pelvic Floor Surgical Registry
5th April 2019 “Unfinished Business” National Mesh Implant Forum, Melbourne, Australia
“… on mesh implants. The title of the forum, Unfinished Business, I think is apt and appropriate, and respectful of all of those women who have suffered from agonising conditions, as a result of mesh implants which have led to potentially catastrophic results. Not just physical, but mental health, emotional health, chronic, agonising pain leading to dependency in some cases, on opioids or other pain killers, or simply the grounding pain and impact of that on mental health.
We know the link between chronic pain and mental health is absolutely, absolutely fundamental..
So we established, as a parliament, with my strong encouragement, the Senate Inquiry into the historical abuse and failure into mesh implants.. And the findings, as everyone here knows, were devastating and powerful.. And it wasn’t …… the parliament doing it’s best …so in response to that, the first thing that I did, was to issue a national apology. I re-affirm that apology today. So many women have suffered so badly and catastrophically.
So I want to acknowledge that pain and that suffering and say again, I am sorry for what has happened in the past. Our practical response has been to insure the TGA has taken an absolutely thorough approach to reviewing all of the mesh implants and the vast majority have been reviewed and removed from the market.
There is, of course, a place, given that so many women who suffer from prolapse of the pelvic floor, urinary incontinence or other issues, do require surgery. Approximately a quarter of them still require some form of mesh or equivalent procedure.
So as a consequence of that, we’ve also issued new interim MBS items for medicare items for both for removal and for implantation, but with much higher standards and guidelines. And in particular, establishing a national action plan on mesh implants, and that’s involved much greater scrutiny of the devices, much higher standards for the procedures, and also ensuring that, as a government, we are taking steps forward to help with education and in particular, information. So that women and doctors have all the information that they need.
Going forwards however, there is a very important thing, I am delighted to announce that after very careful review, and this is a deep personal commitment, the Australian Government will provide $2.3 million to establish a National Pelvic Floor Surgical Registry. This will help track all of those women who have pelvic floor surgery. It will keep a record of devices and it will mean that we are able to have the real record going forwards, that we should always have had.
I can’t speak for the past. I can only speak for the present and the future and it is our time, and our responsibility to deliver this outcome. This registry could have taken a long time, if we had worked with the states, and we still want wish to do the work with the states, but if we had of waited for COAG it wouldn’t have happened for a long time. So, in taking that decision, on your behalf, announcing that decision, and funding that decision, so the pelvic floor surgical registry will be funded by the Australian Government. The advice we have is $2.3 million is what is required, if more is however required, we will fund that.
So this is your moment, it’s overdue recognition, but it’s real action, and it will protect women, it will protect their (…) health, but it will also protect their mental health, that it’s the acknowledgement that which has occurred in the past, on our watch, thanks to your work, we are taking that action.
I want to thank you, I want to acknowledge the suffering of those women who have had suffered historic wrongs, but above all else to give will give you a real note of hope, that going forwards, this registry will help you, and help us, make a profound difference.”