The Medical Industry

The Medical Industry

I left psychiatry training when I found more attraction to the anti-psychiatry position and the plight of patients in mental health. I never thought I would experience the same concern in medicine generally, but as it has become more institutionalised, I have.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not “anti-medicine” as a profession or vocation, but I find that this has been subsumed by medicine the “industry”, with similar concerns as those raised by many about the pharmaceutical industry.

Yet I don’t find an “anti-” position productive, unless politically or otherwise motivated, so I ask myself what is going on… and going wrong in my former profession and where I can position myself.

By “industry” I mean that medicine has become progressively institutionalised, politicised and corporatised… to the point at which “it is no longer possible to do your job properly” (a professional colleague’s comment on medicine).

I jocularly remark that medicine has become the PITs; it is now dominated by Pharmacy, Investigations and Technology. What happened to the art of medicine, the GP who was a family friend, the bedside manner? Sadly, those days are gone, but all is not lost.

It is the time of patient empowerment (please excuse the pun). The consumer needs to appreciate the health systems that accord with their values and beliefs. These need not be confined to or defined by modern western medicine. They need to find practitioners who not only respect these, but also espouse the value of the professional relationship.

But beyond all this, and in the “information-age”, it is important that the consumer be empowered in any health professional relationship and that this be respected by the practitioner or therapist.

These are the seeds of the paradigm shift that will see the dawning of a new health era. It is already happening, it is important to catch the “wave” of change and be instrumental in its unfolding, otherwise the old paradigm will continue in its set ways.