Medical moves

THE corporatisation of medicine is developing momentum, with advertising restrictions likely to simply be the next tradition to be pared away.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, is matter of conjecture.

Lawyers used to face advertising restrictions, now images of car accident victims seeking legal advice are as common as soap commercials.

These tend to be at the lower end of the market and there could be an argument that by driving volume these high profile lawyers can provide access to cheap law.

Others might argue differently ... that perhaps some of these advertisers churn their customers through the system quickly, make a small margin and move on, possibly without doing a proper job.

There is a danger that medicine is going the same way.

Already there are plenty of doctors who go into the business simply for the money rather than any desire to help their fellow man.

And for who those do graduate with more than dollar signs in their eyes, increasingly early employment is with some corporate medical group which is designed to push customers through the doors quickly and not question how often they come back.

Who knows if advertising will make that worse.

It will however, make it harder for the small GP to compete against national giants with 1800 numbers that connect you to the nearst clinic like it was Pizza Hut.

At the end of the day, will it make medicine cheaper for the consumer?

I doubt it.

At least, such a change might offer some welcome relief to the advertising industry by opening up a potential new client base at a time when such a new source of work is very much needed.

Licence push

INTERESTING to see WA’s hotels bucking against the system and demanding extended trading hours.

Fair enough too. The truth is the industry is being squeezed by competition at every angle.

That competition has arisen because Perth needed something more than its traditional licensing arrangements, many of which better belong in the 19th century.

WA is way behind other states and other parts of the world in the way it regulates alcohol. To visitors our easy going image overseas is a contrast to archaic laws which best suit a nanny state.

At the end of the day, we treat our citizens like children and the licences created to enforce that control have, in the past, been gold mines for many.

These days, though, the attitude of many drinkers is different. Drinkers are cutting back at a younger age and the youngest drinkers are often turning to other drugs, outside the regulated system.

A plethora of new and creative offerings in the market have come to meet the demand of this new market and pubs have found the rules that protected them are now a hindrance.

It’s time there was a systematic approach to determining alcohol regulation, one that allows a slow transition to the point where the responsibility for behaviour lies with the citizen.

At the end of the day, if we feel like having a quiet bottle of wine at Cottesloe Beach, we should be able to, so long as it doesn’t affect others.

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