INDEPENDENT NEWS

Go Blind Or Die Waiting

Published: Mon 24 May 2004 11:10 AM
24/5/2004
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.
ENDS

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