Who Is Too Old To Practice Medicine?

Canadian Family Physician writes about older physicians this week. Some Canadians say there should be a mandatory retirement age, others disagree. One of the writers brings up Osler’s statement, made at age 55, that physicians should stop practicing at age 60. Obviously, Osler, (Canadian born and educated) did not follow his own advice in that regard. Another writer points out: “In Quebec, for example, some 30 family physicians older than 80 continue to practise and 1 physician is older than 95”. This is meant to be a shocking example of something inappropriate. I’m not sure it is.

In Sweden, private practice physicians, at least at one point in time, were prohibited from billing the government sponsored health insurance system after they had reached a certain age. My interpretation was that this kept older physicians from leaving their employed positions to enter private practice later in life; there was no mandatory retirement for employed doctors, so competency had nothing to do with it.

Some of the writers in Canadian Family Physician make the argument that there must be more to life than medicine.

Who are they to decide what is right for other physicians as long as they can do the work and derive satisfaction from it?

via Should older family physicians retire?.

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