President’s Pen: Our Year in Review

To the members of the South Island Medical Staff Association.

This has been a very satisfying year to have been your President.  In every hospital in which I have worked, an active and robust Medical Staff Association has served both the individual physician and the organization well.  While many of this year’s activities have been somewhat behind the scenes, I sincerely hope that you will feel that your executive has done you proud by its activities.

In addition to the required activities under the Bylaws, a brief summary of our extra activities includes:

  1. Active involvement in the rewrite of the Medical Staff Rules. Boring, but absolutely necessary to provide a proper balance between the needs of the Health Authority and the individual physician.  This took a lot of discussion and some compromise on both sides, but the final document protects the importance of both good medical care and the individual physician.
  2. In addition to the formal MSA meetings, there have been less-formal social activities organized with funding from the Facilities Engagement process. Led by a dedicated group of colleagues, determined to make practice in the South Island a more welcoming and healthier place, these have included BBQs, other social events, the welcoming of new physicians and the recognition of leaving, as well as activities for physician wellness and self-care.  In a large and complex system such as ours, personal contacts can get lost, and we must be ever mindful of trying to promote our professional collegiality.
  3. Again, with Facilities Engagement support, we have now allocated in total over $1.2 million to engagement activities directed to improving patient care. “Success Stories” are listed on your tables, but the message I have is that we may all be very proud of the responsible way that the FEI Working Group has evaluated and funded these various projects.
  4. Tonight, we are presenting the first of the “MSA Awards”, recognizing colleagues who have made a special contribution not just by doing the work, but by improving the work that we do. This is the first time that the MSA has done this. The process is new, and if there is anything that you think we have ignored, please let me know.
  5. We are now attempting a process of “exit interviews” for physicians. Exit is a misnomer; people may not be leaving the organization, but if they’re changing or giving up some role because of frustration or the working environment, it is important that the MSA to know.  We have a standardized but simple process to collect the information, not burdensome, and we hope that doing this will improve the work situation for us all.
  6. Finally, we must be aware of succession planning. All positions are up for election annually, but I MUST step down as President next year. We also have an all-male Executive. This is inappropriate, so we are asking your support for a process to increase the current Executive from 5 to a maximum of 7. This will allow us to bring in some new members, who this year must be female, share the load around a little more and hopefully have people interested in trying new tasks to everyone’s benefit.

All of the above could not have been accomplished without help. I would like to especially thank the executive: Parvinder Birdi, our Vice-President, who has diligently worked in many capacities over the year; Fred Voon, our Treasurer, who has cheerfully and competently managed the workload of making sure that everyone gets their funding correctly; Kevin Yee, our Secretary who has real contributions to better communication, especially with younger and more computer-literate members, and finally John Galbraith, our Director-At-Large who has taken on the role of chairing the Facilities Engagement Working Group, and supervising its functioning.  In addition, and again thanks to your support in the way of your fees, and some FE funding, we have benefited by the super efficient contracted staff in the persons of Erica Kjekstad, Julia Porter, Clara Rubincam, Rita Webb and of course, Marg Severs and Lillian Fitterer. Thank you all.

Respectfully submitted,


A.Donald Milliken


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