Support services for women affected by urogynaecological mesh
Information for affected women on where to find support services, contact lines and support groups related to urogynaecological (transvaginal) surgical mesh.
There are a number of state based and non-government support services available to women who are experiencing complications or seeking information related to transvaginal mesh.
Women in any state or territory can make an appointment with their doctor to discuss concerns or questions. Some states and territories also have specialised contact lines and support services for transvaginal mesh (see below).
We have received a number of queries regarding Centrelink support services. Links to relevant Centrelink websites and information support lines are provided below to assist.
Centrelink websites and information support lines
- Payments for people living with an illness, injury or disability.
- Information about claiming Disability Support Pension.
- Claim for Disability Support Pension Medical Evidence Checklist form.
- Medical evidence checklist for treating health professionals.
- The telephone line for people with disability is 132 717.
- To contact social work services, call 132 850.
There are a range of other ways to contact Services Australia.
Information about the Disability Support Pension
The Disability Support Pension (DSP) provides financial support to people with permanent disability that prevents them from working more than 15 hours a week.
Certain medical and non-medical eligibility conditions must be met:
- The condition must be permanent. That is, after the condition is diagnosed, treated and stabilised, based on the evidence available, significant functional improvement in the next two years is unlikely.
- The person has to be assessed as unable to work for more than 15 hours or more per week.
- The disability (physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment) must attract at least 20 points when assessed under the work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension Tables (Impairment Tables). The Impairment Tables are function-based rather than diagnosis based.
- Medical evidence from the treating medical practitioner on the condition, diagnosis, clinical features, symptoms, treatment and stability is required.
- Income and assets tests and residency requirements must also be met.
For further information see the Services Australia website.
Canberra Health Services has established the ACT Pelvic Mesh Service, a dedicated multidisciplinary team to support ACT women experiencing complications that may be related to urogynaecological mesh. The team includes dedicated medical, nursing, pelvic physiotherapy and pain psychology staff.
The inclusion criteria cover a person who:
- underwent surgery for urogynaecological mesh in the ACT and is experiencing mesh-related complications such as mesh erosion, pelvic pain, painful sex, abnormal vaginal bleeding and recurrent infections
- underwent surgery for urogynaecological mesh outside the ACT but now resides in the ACT
- requests or requires a review as part of the contact process conducted in the ACT, after receiving a letter from an ACT health service in regard to a urogynaecological mesh procedure (letters were sent during 2018–19).
Notes: The ACT Pelvic Mesh Service will consider referrals for women who reside in areas surrounding the ACT if travel to Sydney would be problematic.
Urogynaecological mesh includes polypropylene mesh used for pelvic organ prolapse and ‘slings’, ‘tapes’ or ‘hammocks’ used to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI). People considering prospective SUI procedures using urogynaecological mesh are also included.
Specialist clinics in NSW are available at:
- Nepean Hospital: ph. 02 4734 1474 or 02 4734 2000
- Royal North Shore Hospital: ph. 02 9463 2377
- Royal Prince Alfred Hospital: ph. 02 9515 4526 or 0459 899 735, or RPA switch on 02 9515 6111
- St George Hospital: ph. 02 9113 2272 or 02 9113 1588
- Westmead Hospital: ph. 02 8890 7668
NSW Health has also developed a series of fact sheets on transvaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse, for patients and doctors.
There is also a NSW Pelvic Mesh Support Group on Facebook.
Queensland Health has established the Queensland Pelvic Mesh Service to help women who experience complications from urogynaecological mesh. Services include an initial comprehensive interdisciplinary assessment and are based in the Gold Coast.
The dedicated website includes useful tips for women considering undergoing urogynaecological mesh procedures as well as information on the regulation of, and issues associated with, urogynaecological mesh products in Australia.
There is also a Gold Coast & Surrounds Pelvic Mesh Group on Facebook.
The SA Health Pelvic Mesh Consumer Support Line can be contacted on 1800 66 MESH (1800 666 374).The line is staffed from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays).
SA Health has published a Pelvic Mesh Q&A page.
The Victorian Transvaginal Mesh Information Helpline is 1800 55 MESH (1800 55 6374).
Specialist programs to help women with complications from mesh are also available at the following hospitals:
- Royal Women's Hospital: ph. 03 8345 3143
- Mercy Hospital for Women: ph. 03 8458 4500
- Monash Health: ph. 03 9928 8588
- Western Health: ph. 0481 908 118
The Victorian Government's Better Health Channel published a urogynaecological mesh page which provides tips on questions patients should ask their surgeons and outlines known complications.
The WA Department of Health has published a Pelvic Mesh Q&A page. The WA Pelvic Mesh Contact Line is 1800 962 202.
There is also a WA Pelvic Mesh Support Group on Facebook.