I've been a member of the College of Family Physicians since the early sixties, when a few inspired physicians decided that the lowly general practitioner was the foundation of health care system and was not someone who just wasn't smart enough to be a specialist. They were a dedicated bunch, who felt that the traditional rotating internship was poor training for a community based physician, who would be looking after a broad spectrum of patients ranging from pediatrics to geriatrics, including obstetrics.
I strongly supported the objectives of the College, became an early member and served on numerous committees over the years, including the executive committee. I particularly supported the creative and open-minded approach in those days, when we felt that our strength lay in our support and caring for our colleagues as well as our patients. Unfortunately, as the College grew stronger and more influential it has largely lost that personal touch and seems to have wholeheartedly embraced the philosophy of the health care industry.
I retired from active General Practice/ Family Medicine a few months ago. I was one of the early certificants by examination and was honoured with a Fellowship when it was an earned award. A few years ago I was awarded a Life Membership of the College, I was surprised to receive a registered letter from the College a few days ago. I couldn't think why the College would be sending me a registered letter. The only thing I could think of was that I had overpaid for something years ago and they were now making a refund, with interest! (Joke!).
Let me share with you an excerpt from this letter, but first let me inform you that I have maintained study credits with the College for over forty years.
"You have not completed requirements for your five-year cycle. You will not be permitted to renew your CFPC membership or to have your special designations restored until the requirements for reinstatement have been met. If you are UNABLE (my capitalization) to fulfill your requirements by September 29th unfortunately your membership in the CFPC will be removed for non-compliance of credits".
No phone call, no attempt to make personal contact of any kind, no concern whether the member is alive or dead, ill or well, no interest at all in the circumstances of a lifetime member and supporter of the College.
What a way to communicate with a colleague. The physicians who allowed a letter like this, probably coined by some administrator, to go out over their names should be ashamed of themselves.
I'm afraid the College hierarchy has become so overwhelmed by their own sense of importance that they are losing that common courtesy and consideration that is such an essential part of the caring of both colleagues and patients.
They'll need to do better than this!