New Zealand’s Ministry of Health wants to ban the use of surgical mesh for urology or gynaecology procedures, except in cases when hospitals could ensure that surgeons meet certain credentials and obtain all necessary approvals. Even if the new standards mostly cover the use of surgical mesh, hospitals and surgeons need to take it a step further by preferring to use tools such as bayonet bipolar forceps.
Acting Associate Minister of Health James Shaw said that district health boards (DHB) in the country would only allow the use of surgical mesh based on certain requirements. The first involves a urogynaecological surgeon’s credentials that should be on par with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care standards.
The second requires a DHB’s full understanding of the associated risks from using the material. Shaw said that only senior medical professionals would be allowed to use surgical mesh in urogynaecological surgeries, provided that they possess the right training and qualifications.
The new standards for using surgical mesh came after several post-surgery problems emerged in August. A report claimed that more than 600 cases of adverse results took place due to procedures that involved the use of transvaginal mesh. These patients were treated for pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, while there were almost 400 cases of adverse effects of using surgical mesh for hernia procedures, according to the report. Aside from the stricter rules, the government also plans to consider creating a national registry to record all future instances of using surgical mesh in applicable cases.
Hospitals should review their current policies on using different tools for surgeries. By spending more on using branded surgical accessories, the benefits of doing so would largely outweigh the risk of legal complaints arising from medical malpractice allegations.