spring 2013

m e m b e r s h i p
Senior and retired physician group of NLMA

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The Senior and Retired Physicians group of NLMA is open to any physician aged over 65, practicing or retired.

By Dr. Vince McMahon

This group was established by the late Dr. Nigel Rusted. It was chaired by Dr. Greg Russell until 2012. When he resigned, I was then appointed.

I attended meetings intermittently over the previous years. It seemed to be that we lacked focus and direction. I wanted to broaden the scope of our group and decided to see how other provinces conducted their affairs. I struck gold on my first phone call to Dr. Robert Read of Halifax, NS, who is secretary of the Senior and Retired Physicians Group of Doctors NS (SSRDNS). This group is described as the only organization in Canada for senior and retired doctors.

The group first met in April 2009 and made a number of key decisions:

  1. The inclusion of doctors aged over 65 and still active in full or part-time practice;

  2. Participation as a section of Doctors NS, rather than as a separate organization: and,

  3. The importance of the advocacy role of the section.

 On Sunday, August 21, 2011, in St. John’s, at the CMA AGM, Dr. Read gave a presentation. He suggested that the structure of the SSRDNS could be used as a template for the national body. His statistics were exciting. Doctors NS lists 2,300 members. 260 are >65 and retired and 260 are active in full or part-time practice, for a total of 520/2,300 = 22.6%. Up to August 2011, 100 out of each group of 260 joined the SSRD. There are monthly local meetings held in Halifax, Yarmouth, Dartmouth, etc. Up to 100 members attend the AGM. Currently four to eight members attend our bi-monthly meetings in St. John’s.

We have a complement of about 1,100 doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador. Extrapolating the statistics of Nova Scotia (22.6%), it is reasonable to assume that potentially we may have over 100 members in each group.

Our last meeting was held on April 16, 2013 in the NLMA House boardroom. An invitation was extended to all members over 65 years of age. New members will permit us to draw up a constitution, by-laws, etc.

It is important to note that the upcoming Strategic Plan of the NLMA will include physician wellness focus groups, the fostering of a culture of caring for physicians and a focus on member engagement.

When we look at our role model, the SSRDNS, we see that many of the topics that engage them are volunteerism, mentoring and teaching, advice to colleagues contemplating retirement, compassionate care to ill, isolated and bereaved colleagues, recognition and commemoration and archive management. These points of engagement of SSRDNS seem to be in very close alignment with the aims of the NLMA.

Life expectancy has increased by 10 years in the last 75 years. This reality has caused concern and much is being written about the possible insolvency of defined benefit pension plans, the extension of working life beyond 65 years and the ongoing cost of provision of medical, nursing, pharmacy and social care for long-living seniors, some of us who have experienced these costs know that they can be prohibitive. Doctors who have been in salaried practice are covered, to some degree, by public service health care plans. I submit that the purchase of supplementary health care coverage is essential.

This is a brief overview of the topics that were discussed in April. Meetings are generally held on the second Tuesday of every second month. To inquire about the Senior and Retired Physicians Group, e-mail Dr. Vince McMahon or call him at (709) 738-7057.



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