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Complimentary model new focus for medicine

CORPORATE groups are emerging in the alternative health sector following in the footsteps of Foundation Healthcare, the Endeavour group and Lifecare.

The demand for quality alternative health services is driving the development of two alternative therapy operations in Perth.

However health care is a labour intensive industry and it has proved difficult to squeeze into a corporate model.

A business model that combines traditional medicine with alter-native therapies is the key to both Desana and the expanded Perth Natural Medical Clinic.

Desana is the brainchild of husband and wife team Kevin and Julie Gibson.

Mr Gibson, originally from the United Kingdom, is understood to have made his fortune during the dot.com boom.

However, the focus in now on nurturing a strong client base for alternative, or complementary, therapies.

Based in Perth, the Gibsons plan to set up a number of alternative health clinics around the city.

Desana director Julie Gibson said it was too early to make any comment about the details of the business.

Val Allen & Partners Perth Natural Medical Clinic is one of the more established alternative health clinics in Perth.

Founded by Val Allen, the clinic is the largest integrative medicine clinic in WA.

Investment Banker Peter Gibbons has recently bought into the business and is driving an ambitious expansion plan for the group.

Mr Gibbons has invested a significant sum of money to finance the expansion, however he was unwilling to discuss any details.

“What’s happened is I’ve gone into partnership with (founding partner) Val Allen,” Mr Gibbons said.

“What I’ve done is gone into the partnership to expand the clinic and access as many people as possible.”

Mr Gibbons refers to the business model for the Perth Natural Medical Clinic as integrative medicine.

Integrative medicine combines conventional and natural app-roaches, with therapists including homoeopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists, osteopaths, remedial therapists, podiatrists and counsellors.

“I was actually working with Macquarie Bank in China and I became very ill. It was very difficult to access orthodox medicine and I found the Chinese medicine just amazing,” Mr Gibbons said.

In Australia the alternative health market is still a very diversified and basically a cottage industry.

By bringing together traditional medicine and alternative practitioners, the Perth Natural Medical Clinic has created a one-stop shop for clients.

It’s also a simple way to introduce new clients, who are unsure about the complementary market, to new therapies.

“We’ve got about 10 practitioners currently and this will soon be 12,” Mr Gibbons said.

The expansion plans stretch well beyond the walls of the Lord Street clinic and the corporate market has been identified as a good vehicle to support the strategy.

“We’ve looked at all the business models, Foundation, Endeavour and Life Care I’m not convinced they’ve got it right,” Mr Gibbons said.

“We’ve been doing market re-search simply by going out and seeing companies.

“It’s just a matter of getting it right.”

After developing the business in Perth there are plans to take the integrative medicine model over to the eastern states and then overseas.

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