Complaint to Health Care Complaints Commission over Dr Richard Reid

Dr Richard Reid.
Dr Richard Reid.

A SYDNEY University professor of obstetrics has complained to the Health Care Complaints Commission about a former University of Newcastle associate professor who was suspended by the NSW Medical Council but reinstated on appeal.

Professor Hans Dietz complained to the commission after seeing eight former patients of Dr Richard Reid since March who had prolapse surgery using Tissue Fixation System (TFS) vaginal mesh following childbirth complications.

The complaint related to the nature of the mesh tape, the way the product was used in the women’s genital area and the consequences for them, Professor Dietz said.

He contacted the Newcastle Herald  following a report on the decision of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal which reinstated Dr Reid on October 28 after he was suspended by the Medical Council in July.

The tribunal described Dr Reid as a ‘‘world expert in his field’’ after criticising the Medical Council for failing to provide it with evidence contrary to strong references for Dr Reid from some doctors. The Medical Council had also failed to provide  an assessment of whether TFS was ‘‘novel’’.

The tribunal, which reported its decision last month, did not record that TFS was deregistered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration on November 5 for failing to comply with standards for registration.

Professor Dietz described the tribunal’s determination as confusing and difficult to understand.

Dr Reid is the subject of at least three HCCC complaints, and at least one complaint to the Medical Council. At least two former patients are taking civil action against him after surgery for prolapse.

Newcastle gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Brett Locker said polypropylene mesh was used to manage severe urinary stress incontinence and severe vaginal prolapse.

A mesh sling placed around the mid urethra through a vaginal incision, known as TVT, was ‘‘widely regarded as the gold standard procedure for stress incontinence’’.

The use of mesh for severe vaginal prolapse was ‘‘the area of concern’’ because complications could be severe and debilitating, he said.

While mesh products, which are the subject of regulatory action in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom and have generated thousands of civil claims, had a role in severe prolapse treatment, there were qualifications to that role, Dr Locker said.

‘‘That’s provided the surgeon is trained and experienced in the use of mesh, that the surgeon can tell the patient what his/her own particular complication rates are, and that the patient has been fully informed and consented about what is being planned,’’ he said.