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Requirements to be Deputy Registrar at College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSBC) – Is something different?

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Z. Essak, MD – Vancouver, BC – 2015 Apr 23

medical regulation shield imageThe College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is looking to hire a new Deputy Registrar with the deadline for applications of April 30, 2015 fast approaching.

Is there something different about the experience required in this job posting – “a career opportunity in medical regulation”?

The proven experience and qualifications all candidates should have begins with, "minimum 10 years of senior administrative experience in a complex health-related organization (e.g. regulator, health authority, association, etc.)"

Also the requirements, while including "medical degree preferred", are open to others with "master of business/health administration or law degree also accepted".

Is this a sign of changes or a shift underway at the College (CPSBC)?

Possibly none of those who are the current Registrar and Deputy Registrars would have met the first of these requirements when they were hired; apart from having served on some boards and committees they came to the College directly from clinical practice, they were practicing physicians.

Is it important to have the College Registrar and Deputy Registrars coming from clinical practice or senior administrative positions?

Does the new first requirement serve as a deterrent to a number of worthy applicants not in administrative positions?

Does it place greater emphasis on policies, procedures, and protocols rather than broad and specific understanding of patient doctor environments and differentials involved?

The Registrar and deputy registrars are responsible for the oversight and leadership of all aspects of the College including the licensing, complaint handling and disciplinary actions directly affecting physicians and the care provided to patients.

Is the College (CPSBC) becoming more procedurally driven with emphasis on policies and protocols rather than holistic examination of the patient doctor environment and medical care provided?

How far down the slippery slope are we now, or willing to go?

The History of the CPSBC

The College (CPSBC) is now 129 years old.

Some details of the history of the College can be found in articles by Dr. C.E. McDonnell published in the BCMJ from 1977 and 1978. The sixth article published in February 1978 describes the beginnings of medical legislation in BC and the emergence in 1886 of the Medical Act and the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The article goes on to describe that shortly afterward, resulting from the 1892 smallpox epidemic "a series of confrontations pitted the mayor, council and police chief against the provincial government and resulted in the civic officials being arrested and tried in Victoria. All was settled with fines but it was realized that the act was inadequate and new legislation followed."

It appears from reading the article that the effect of the new legislation was bringing into force an existing ordinance promoting public health in BC and providing extraordinary powers to the Governor in Council to appoint a deputy health officer in case of health crisis.

It is interesting to see that, while all was settled with fines, there was some direct accountability. How often do we see direct accountability these days rather than having it swallowed into the bowels of organizations?

The article and others in the series by Dr. McDonnell help bring to life some of the individual doctors in the history of medicine in BC. The articles make for interesting reading along with some good illustrations, sketches and photos.

Since the CPSBC came into existence in 1886 there have been 13 registrars and beginning with one deputy registrar in 1972 there are currently five deputy registrar positions with a total of 21 individuals hired over the years as deputy registrars of the College, five of whom went on to become Registrar. One of the deputy registrars was the staff lawyer while all the registrars and all other deputy registrars were doctors who came from clinical practice.

What is the College (CPSBC) looking for this time and who will be the successful applicant?


The job posting can be found at and applications must be submitted by the close of business April 30, 2015.



1. Career_Opportunity_in_Medical_Regulation.pdf

2. [6] BCMJ 1978-2 20(2)44-5 - McDonnell - Early medical legislation by McDonnell.pdf

The full series of 12 articles by Dr. McDonnell on the History of Medicine in BC may be of interest to readers and can be obtained from public library resources and other libraries:

[1] BCMJ 1977-09 19(9)348-9 - McDonnell BC Med History – Intro
[2] BCMJ 1977-10 19(10)394-5 - McDonnell BC Med History - Med care on Burrard Inlet
[3] BCMJ 1977-11 19(11)418-9 - McDonnell BC Med History - Contract medicine before the railway
[4] BCMJ 1977-12 19(12)446-7 - McDonnell BC Med History - Some early practitioners
[5] BCMJ 1978-1 20(1)18-9 – McDonnell
[6] BCMJ 1978-2 20(2)44-5 - McDonnell - Early medical legislation by McDonnell
[7] BCMJ 1978-3 20(3)78-9 – McDonnell
[8] BCMJ 1978-4 20(4)112-4 - McDonnell
[9] BCMJ 1978-5 20(5)144-6 – McDonnell
[10] BCMJ 1978-6 20(6)182-4 – McDonnell
[11] BCMJ 1978-7 20(7)221-3 – McDonnell
[12] BCMJ 1978-8 20(8)246-8 – McDonnell


Career_opportunity_in_medical_regulation.pdf466.94 KB
6_BCMJ_1978-2_20244-5_-_McDonnell_-_Early_medical_legislation_by_McDonnell.pdf393.42 KB

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