A group of women representing those affected by complications associated with the use of transvaginal mesh implants (TVMIs) have met the Minister for Health.

Mesh Survivors Ireland want to see an audit of the use of the device, which was widely used in the surgical treatment of stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women.

The group which represents around 500 women are also campaigning for a specialist treatment centre here and more access to treatment abroad, including surgical removal.

Louise O'Reilly TD, Sinn Féin health spokesperson, accompanied the group to its meeting with Minister Simon Harris.

She said an audit was crucial to establish how many women and men were affected and damaged.

Ms O'Reilly also said that a proper medical care pathway for women was essential.

A spokesperson for Minister Harris said he is committed to ensuring all patients presenting for treatment for Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), and all women who develop mesh-related complications, receive high quality multi-disciplinary care.

The spokesperson said the minister met with the Health Service Executive this morning and was assured the HSE is fully implementing the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer in his report last year on the issue.

The Minister is not ruling out further inquiries in this area, the spokesperson added.

Solicitor Melanie Power, who set up the Mesh Survivors Ireland group, described the meeting with Minister Harris and officials as a largely positive meeting.

She said there was an agreement that patients’ experiences would be documented.

Mr Harris is to revert to the group in a number of weeks with proposals on how to do this.

Two specialist centres for people impacted by the issue will also be funded.

Late last year, the Department of Health published a report from its Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan on the clinical and technical issues associated with the use of transvaginal mesh implants.

It followed concerns raised about the frequency and severity of complications associated with the use of TVMIs in some women.

The report said that mesh devices were associated with significant and severe complications in a minority of women, which are of concern given the difficulties of mesh implant removal.

In his report, Dr Holohan asked the HSE to pause all mesh procedures where clinically safe to do so, pending a number of key recommendations being implemented.

Among the recommendations were the need to develop patient information and informed consent materials; surgical professional training and multi-disciplinary expertise in units carrying out mesh procedures and ensuring accessible care for the management of women with complications.