Go Blind Or Die Waiting
Graham Stairmand, President of the Grey Power New Zealand Federation, states that Grey Power totally support the action
of the Commerce Commission in seeking for a substantial penalty to be applied to both the eye surgeons involved in
stopping Australian doctors from performing cataract operations in Southland, and to the Society itself.
In late 1996, the Government gave funding to Southern Health to reduce 'its substantial cataract waiting list by 225
patients.’ Southern Health attempted to hire two Australian surgeons to perform the operations but both backed off in
the face of opposition from the sole eye surgeon in Southland and four colleagues.
In his judgment, Justice Gendall found the five Kiwi surgeons and the Opthalmological Society of New Zealand breached
the Commerce Act by blocking the two Australians from operating.
“It is this kind of action that does nothing to assist the elderly who are the group that have the most concern over
failing eyesight due to cataracts. This is the first time in Australasia that members of a profession have been found to
have breached competition law and a heavy penalty must be applied so that visiting surgeons can provide cheaper
operations for those who cannot afford private treatment,” says Mr Stairmand.