Dialogue Volume 14 Issue 1 2018 - Page 5

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Dear Colleagues: O Steven Bodley, MD College President From the earliest days of regulation, physicians have been expected to act in a respectful, courteous and civil manner towards their patients, peers and colleagues. ver the past few years, physi- cians in Ontario seem to be facing unprecedented challenges. Many are working longer hours and workplace stresses remain sig- nificant. Stress in the workplace and physician burnout have long been recognized as major health risks for physicians and are increasingly being noted as risk factors for medical errors and poor quality of care for our patients. Some physicians have pointed to the College as one of the sources of their stress, suggest- ing that regulatory oversight has become burdensome. I would certainly agree that the regulatory environment is much changed since the days when I entered medicine. Back then, a physician could change their scope of practice with little or no oversight, and would be able to practise for their entire career without any kind of a check to ensure that he or she was keep- ing up to date with new medical knowledge. I would respectfully submit that this was not the “Golden Age” of medicine – not for patients nor for doctors. In fact, I would suggest that prac- tising in such a way – without guidance or supports – would present its own stresses. Some of the current stresses may have played a role in a number of recent examples of problematic behaviour within the physician community. Some of these instances of unprofessional behaviour have brought dishon- our to the individuals involved, as well as to the profession as a whole. Last year, for example, the College responded to complaints of an eruption of on-line bullying among doctors. In addressing the behaviour, we are not limit- ing free speech, as some have sug- gested. Instead, we want to make it clear that there are appropriate and respectful ways to disagree with our colleagues. A member of our profession simply cannot be allowed to resort to threats, curses and sexual slurs to advance an argument, no matter how deeply felt one might feel about a particular issue. This is not a new position for the College. From the earliest days of regulation, physicians have been expected to act in a respectful, courteous and civil manner towards their patients, peers and colleagues. In 2007, we approved a policy – Physician ISSUE 1, 2018 DIALOGUE 5