"This is Dr. Berger. He is visiting Australia to see what a modern medical system looks like."

I spent the day enjoyably. I gave a talk this morning to the folks at VMA General Practice Training, one of a number of provider training centers throughout Australia. (Recently - within the past decade or so - the Australian government has decentralized the training of general practitioners, formerly under the College of General Practitioners, in order to promote competition.) I had a feeling of being at home among people like those at the primary care program I just graduated from. Now, primary care doctors in the US are (with the addition of philosophical self-consciousness and their own advocacy organization) just like internists, while their equivalent in Australia is the GP. Australia is civilized because about half their practitioners are GPs. What struck me was how little difference there seems to be, on a brief first glance, in outlook and sensibility.

Then this afternoon and evening I have been shadowing the clinicians at Parkridge Medical Centre in Melbourne. Besides the obvious differences (namely, that Australia has a "modern medical system" with universal healthcare coverage) I noted, again anecdotally, a relative reluctance to spring first for the pharmaceutical solution, something I know I did as a resident (mere weeks ago!).

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