In late 2016, Derryn Hinch met with Caz Chisholm and Kim Blieschke regarding the horrific injuries they and thousands of other Australian women have suffered from surgery using polypropylene mesh to correct Stress Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
That meeting led to the establishment of the Senate Inquiry into The Number of Women who have had Transvaginal Mesh Implants in Australia and related matters. The inquiry received hundreds of submissions and heard statements from many more during public hearings around the country. Those submissions and hearings made clear the utter devastation that mesh implants have caused. The debilitating physical damage combined with the impact on mental health has meant the loss of jobs, loss of self-esteem and in many cases the end of relationships and marriages.
The recommendations of the inquiry included, amongst others, the importance of establishing a register of implantable devices, a strict focus on informed consent from patients, and the use of mesh only as a last resort for patients. The response to the recommendations has been slow but the government has committed $2.3 million for the establishment of a register of mesh implants and the Therapeutic Goods Administration has announced a raft of changes relating to the reporting of adverse events and the tracking of devices. While these changes are a positive step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go to ensure that the women who have been so horribly affected are looked after.