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State must establish expert panel on pelvic mesh/sodium valproate - David Cullinane TD

9 July, 2020 - by David Cullinane TD

David CullinaneSinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane has called on the new Minister Health Stephen Donnelly to establish without delay an expert panel to review the British report into the use of pelvic mesh/sodium valproate.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review in Britain published its report “First Do No Harm" yesterday and Deputy Cullinane has urged the Department of Health to use its findings as the basis of addressing those affected by the same issue in Ireland.

Speaking today, Teachta Cullinane said: “We are calling on the Minister for Health to immediately set up an expert panel to review the British report for use in the Irish context.

“This expert panel would evaluate the British report and its recommendations, and to report back to the Minister in a short timeframe.

“The recommendations of the expert panel would expedite the process, rather than engaging in a lengthy, multi-year process when the groundwork has already been covered in the British report.

“Doing so would ensure that those negatively affected across the island would get the result that they deserve without the pain of having to wait many more months looking on as Britain deals with the issue.

“The actions of Government in London are in stark contrast with the slow pace of Fine Gael over the last number of years, who have sought at first to dismiss the complaints of patients before reluctantly stopping mesh implants.

“Previously, Minister Donnelly claimed he could not understand why his predecessor Simon Harris did not set up an independent inquiry, despite the fact that Fianna Fáil were providing the Confidence and Supply Agreement that allowed Fine Gael to look the other way.

“We are now also calling on Minister Donnelly to ensure that women negatively affected by pelvic mesh have easy access to removal surgery.

“For the immediate and long-term well-being of those affected, Minister Donnelly needs to ensure that care packages and supports are made available.

"The Department of Health and the HSE should also conduct a report into ‘Women and the Health Service’ on the back of this to ensure that women’s needs and wants are being met.

"One of the problems that the British report highlights is the lack of listening to and delivery on the needs of women by the health service.

“We are now calling on Minister Donnelly to back up his words with action, and take the necessary steps to address the needs of those affected.”

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