• identify how many women in Australia have been adversely affected following transvaginal mesh surgery; • consider the information and support provided to women undergoing transvaginal mesh procedures; • consider the information provided to doctors and surgeons who recommend and undertake transvaginal mesh procedures; and • examine the role of the TGA in approving and monitoring urogynaecological mesh devices for use in Australia
Since this matter was referred to the committee for inquiry and report, the committee has been struck by the extent to which women who have had adverse experiences following transvaginal mesh surgery have struggled to be heard as they have sought to raise concerns about their symptoms. More than 500 women wrote to the committee during the inquiry. The vast majority of these have experienced adverse events following surgery to implant surgical mesh and the majority of these have struggled to find assistance and support. Many of these women consider that the medical professionals they approached simply did not have sufficient awareness or knowledge of symptoms of adverse events after a surgical mesh implant. Some women were told that their symptoms were imagined. Others were led to believe that they were the only person who had reported any negative consequences following a transvaginal mesh procedure. Many women have waited extensive periods, sometimes years, to receive recognition and treatment to address their symptoms, all the while suffering debilitating pain, physical limitations, social isolation and financial and emotional stress.