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HSE must urgently conduct review on transvaginal mesh implantation numbers – O’Reilly

31 October, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the Health Service Executive must immediately conduct a review into how many patients received a transvaginal mesh implantation as part of a healthcare procedure in the state given that there are claims of complications causing serious damage to some who received them.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“The issue of transvaginal mesh implantation procedures and subsequent complications due to the use of the device is one which needs to be immediately addressed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health.

“The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to other more traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth

“Almost a month ago, I raised the issue with the Minister for Health Simon Harris through a number of Parliamentary Questions. These questions were forwarded to the HSE as most concerned the use of these mesh products in hospitals; how many people had received such an implantation, how many people were taking legal action due to complications caused because of the implantations.

“However, to my utter dismay, it appears from the response that the HSE do not collect the data for the number of people who received an a transvaginal mesh implantation because they do not analyse that data at individual patient level or how many were taking legal action due to complications as a result of a mesh device being implanted.  

“Given the seriousness of this issue, I am quite worried that the HSE does not hold this data. Indeed, I find the fact that the HSE does not hold this data another indication of this state’s utter disregard for women’s healthcare, given that this issue disproportionately affects women.

“The issues around transvaginal mesh implants have caused huge scandals in both the US and in Britain and without the data on the number of mesh implants procedures carried out in this state then we cannot know how serious the issue is here.

“When I contacted the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), they told me that they do ‘not routinely collect or maintain information on the number of women in Ireland who have received transvaginal mesh devices or vaginal mesh implants’.

“However, they did state that in their post market role where they monitor medical devices on the market, and to date the HPRA have identified two unconfirmed reported incidents in respect of transvaginal mesh devices and vaginal mesh implants.

“I believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg and that the HSE need to immediately conduct a review into how many patients received a transvaginal mesh implantation as part of a healthcare procedure.

“I have also written to the Minister for Health to ascertain when his attention was drawn to the side effects and complications of transvaginal mesh implant procedures and the steps he took to address the situation.” 

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