Mesh audit should be only start of thorough reform here, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said recommendations from a review of vaginal mesh surgeries here should only be the start of more thorough reform.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the review found 78 per cent of surgeons did not carry out the 20 annual surgeries required by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) with 15 per cent performing fewer than five operations.

Recommendations include surgeries should be undertaken by trained practitioners who conduct at least 20 procedures per year and data should be submitted to a recognised national audit to facilitate monitoring of results.

“The audit provides some useful recommendations including around the level of training and specialism required. However, it is evident the audit should be only the beginning of a more thorough review,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“For example, only this week a report by a group set up by the Welsh Government stated surgery should only be used as a last resort, and emphasised the need for a more robust process of consent and a preference for a pathway based around physiotherapy. It is inconceivable Wales would be significantly different from Northern Ireland so it is hard to see how those recommendations would not apply here.

“We also have to consider the issue of mesh used for hernia treatment for men. Therefore, the audit provides a useful starting point – but we need to be clear that is what it is.”

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