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10th Annual Scientific Conference, Media Release

March 19, 2019

The Urogynaecological Society of Australasia (UGSA) will welcome national and international experts to their 10th annual scientific meeting on the Gold Coast from 20 to 23 March.

UGSA chair Dr Jenny King said the society was delighted to have such a range of respected speakers from Australia and overseas.

“UGSA is focussed on caring for all women in our community with pelvic floor dysfunction and our speakers will cover a range of important and thought-provoking topics,” Dr King said.

International keynote speakers include Professor Linda Cardozo from King’s College Hospital, London, Dr Mark Slack from the University of Cambridge Teaching Hospitals Trust, Professor Mathew Barber from Case Western Reserve University in the US and Dr Roger Goldberg from the University of Chicago.

Local speakers include the Hudson Institute for Medical Research and Monash University’s Professor Caroline Gargett, world-renowned for her discovery of stem/progenitor cells in human endometrium;

Professor Prof Judith Goh, who spends months every year in developing countries training local doctors in vesico-vaginal fistula (VVF) repair; and, Dr Eric Levi, a Melbourne surgeon with a special interest in doctor wellbeing in the age of social media.

One of Australia’s most respected urogynaecologists, Professor Malcolm Frazer, said two days of workshops would give participants the opportunity to take part in skills-based instruction and training.

“The workshops will cover an array of important topics, including laparoscopic and robotic pelvic floor surgery and the specialist training day is essential for those wishing to better understand the principles of pelvic floor dysfunction,” Prof Frazer said

Urogynaecologists are specialists who evaluate and treat conditions of the female pelvic organs and their supporting muscles and tissues, such as incontinence, prolapse and sexual functioning.

UGSA is the only organisation in Australia and NZ solely committed to caring for women with prolapse and incontinence, which can affect one in three women while up to one in five may need surgery. The annual scientific meeting showcases the latest research and developments in urogynaecology providing an essential educational forum for all clinicians caring for women with pelvic floor problems.

The scientific meeting will also address the use of the mid-urethral mesh sling (MUS) procedure for women suffering urinary incontinence “Despite huge improvements in patient management, training, credentialing and audit for the use of midurethral slings and extensive ongoing international research confirming the safety and efficacy of these slings, many patients remain too fearful to consider management for their urinary incontinence.

“ As doctors, we are left despairing at decisions like those made in the UK or the Senate inquiry recommendation. The mid-urethral sling is not a last resort – it is an excellent option for most women for whom conservative treatment for urinary incontinence has failed.”

Dr King said the number of women having the MUS procedure dropped 40 per cent from 2017 to 2018 and while it was important for women to be informed about possible complications, it was equally important they be given a balanced, realistic assessment of the risks and benefits.

“Hopefully some of these women are focussing on conservative management and may never need surgical treatment. However, the concern is that many others have been made so intensely anxious by the overwhelmingly negative coverage they are refusing to see treatment of any sort for their incontinence,” she said.

Dr King said UGSA would continue to work with government and regulatory agencies to make sure all patients had access to the best treatment for their individual circumstances, regardless of income or other health problems.

“Our members are providing specialist treatment for patients needing management of adverse outcomes from transvaginal mesh procedures. However, we are also committed to ensuring all treatment options for incontinence and prolapse are available for all women throughout Australia and New Zealand,” Dr King said.

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FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:

Belinda Healey ph. 0431 27 41 69 e. belinda@bluewhitemedia.com.au

For more information, visit: www.ugsa.com.au

The international keynote speakers will be available for interview on their lecture topics. Phone interviews can be arranged.

UGSA Chair, Dr Jenny King, is also available for interview on UGSA and other issues, particularly the

importance of mesh (MUS) remaining available for suitable patients.

Other experts available for interview:

Prof Malcolm Frazer – running a mesh clinic

Prof Peter Dwyer – older operations for stress incontinence

Dr Lynsey Hayward – international perspective

Prof Judith Goh & Dr Hannah Krause – volunteering in Africa and Asia

Associate Prof Anna Rosamilia – relationship with industry

Prof Chris Maher – data on retropubic mid-urethral slings

Prof Caroline Gargett – stem cells in incontinence

Ms Jenny Nuciflora – pelvic pain and the physiotherapist

Dr Eric Levi – doctor wellbeing & the age of social media