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Case Provides Lessons To Medical Profession

Case provides lessons to medical profession

The Commerce Commission case against a group of ophthalmologists provides lessons and warnings for the medical profession, says the New Zealand Medical Association. The medical profession will have to carefully consider the implications of these convictions and fines.

“Doctors, like all professional people, must ensure that their businesses operate in accordance with the Commerce Act,” said NZMA Chairman Dr Tricia Briscoe. “We must now look to the future and find ways to create an environment where doctors can practise and run their businesses safely in respect of the Commerce Act.

“The NZMA has great sympathy for the ophthalmologists involved, as they and their families have been under great stress for the past eight years over this case.”

Dr Briscoe said the NZMA has already considered legal issues around the Commerce Act, and has held discussions with the Commerce Commission.

“We would be concerned if this case led to doctors feeling constrained about speaking to their colleagues about patient safety issues, for fear of breaching the Commerce Act.

“It is important that doctors in private practice, as well as those working in the public sector, are able to work with their colleagues and provide support to each other to ensure patient safety.”

Dr Briscoe noted that the fines imposed were at the lower end of the scale, and much less than the Commerce Commission has sought.


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