Older Doctors: Update

Last month White Coat, Black Art examined the issue of older doctors still in practice.  As Canada's population ages, it's no surprise that the average age of MDs is on the rise too.  If you missed the show, check out our March 19 episode of WCBA on Older Doctors here.  The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has a new report on older doctors entitled Puttting Away the Stethescope for Good? Toward a New Perspective on Physician Retirement. 

According to the report, twelve percent of all physicians still in practice were at least sixty-five years of age, up from nine percent just five years earlier.  As well, one-third of doctors in their senior years were still working full time. CIHI data also shows that older physicians no longer classified as full time still carried, on average, 40% of a full workload.

Other facts from the report paint a larger picture.  In 2009, one-third of physicians age sixty-five and older were still working full time. The older the physician becomes, the less likely he or she is do hospital inpatient care, obstetrics, anesthesia and services requiring advanced procedural skills.

Another fascinating fact is that while more than three percent of surveyed physicians reported that they planned to retire within two years, the estimated average annual retirement rate was actually well under 1% annually.  That means MDs say they intend to retired but don't.

All of these figures will put increased pressure on regulators to pay close attention to the competency of physicians in this age group.


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