SHAVER: Benefits for older doctors would limit healthcare shortages

Content of the article

“There is something seriously wrong with our lack of capacity and the level of staffing, and it needs to be addressed urgently.” – Michael Hurley, President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Across Canada, doctors and nurses are retiring prematurely; emergency services – especially in rural areas – are forced to close for days at a time. Some five million Canadians do not have a family doctor (20% in several provinces), although 80% of emergency room patients could have been cared for by family doctors.

Content of the article

What can be done? After misguided cuts in the early 1990s, enrollment in medical and nursing schools is increasing. Licensing of foreign graduates needs to be accelerated. The Canadian Medical Association advocates a national transferable license.

We are in the third year of the UN designated “Decade of Healthy Ageing”. Patients live longer, but have more complex disorders. To prevent the health care system from collapsing, we need “everyone on deck” so that seasoned doctors and nurses are retained. In Ontario, 16% of physicians are over 65 and 8.2% are over 70, and in Canada over 15% are 65 and over.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

As Helen Hirsh Spence wrote, “there is already a talent shortage in every sector, and there will never be enough births or immigrants to Canada to fill the talent pool in this century. “.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario now encourages recently retired physicians to reactivate their license and return to practice. I suggested to CEO Dr. Nancy Whitmore that annual licensing fees — nearly $2,000 in most provinces — be drastically reduced for older physicians, as should specialty organization dues.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

However, we need another incentive. I offer government-funded short-term income replacement. It should be affordable. Note that Ontario now has a budget surplus of $2.1 billion and projects one for another five years. Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island have declining deficits; all other provinces have surpluses.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Physicians may have to miss work due to a heart attack, serious infection such as COVID-19, resection of a malignant bowel or breast tumor, heart surgery, depression, knee or hip arthroplasty, etc.

Some, like their patients, had a delay in screening mammograms or colonoscopy and therefore ended up with more advanced disease.

Private disability insurance is generally unobtainable after age 65, so a long period of absence from work may lead to permanent retirement.

Precedents exist. In 2003, Ontario’s SARS Income Stabilization Program paid up to 80% of doctors’ average monthly bills if they were quarantined, sick with SARS, or had their hospital or office practices affected. .

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

Maternity benefits available across Canada are even more relevant. Ontario has a maternity and parental leave benefit policy that covers pregnancy from an eligible physician, adoption of a child, or surrogacy arrangement. The benefit is 75% of previous gross weekly earnings up to a maximum of $1,300 per week. All provinces have similar plans. Benefits are usually paid for 17 weeks, are taxable and range from $1,000 in New Brunswick and British Columbia, $1,074 in Alberta, $1,300 in Saskatchewan, $1,400 in Manitoba and $1,500 in New Brunswick. -Scotland. Quebec has a very complicated plan that pays a higher amount, but only for 12 weeks.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

I therefore propose that Ontario and all provinces and territories provide practicing physicians and surgeons with short-term disability coverage from age 65 to at least age 80, with no waiting period. MDs would receive 70-80% of their average monthly billing for 60 or preferably 90 days.

Doctors have been called “health heroes”. It is time for all provincial governments and all colleges of physicians and surgeons to translate these words into financial benefits such as short-term income replacement and reduced annual license fees. Older doctors would be encouraged to work, even part-time. Patients would benefit from their expertise and experience, saving many of them from going to overcrowded and understaffed emergency departments.

— Dr. Charles S. Shaver is a physician from Ottawa.

  1. Jim Keon is President of Biosimilars Canada

    KEON: Biosimilar switching policy could save Ontario millions

  2. A team of paramedics delivers a patient to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on January 3, 2022.

    Ontario hospitals have been ordered to treat some children who need intensive care, surgeries could be cut

  3. Experts warn of health concerns in ‘downturn’ with end of daylight saving time

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

About Antoine L. Cassell

Check Also

Hello Leaders lights the spark in elderly care

Since its launch in early October, Hello leaders has provided decision makers in the aged …