Doctor’s Retirement Age: Should There Be a Limit?

doctors-retirement-age (1)-1Meta: What do you see when you visit a doctor? Age or competency? Read this article to understand if it’s rational to regulate the doctor’s retirement age.

The doctor’s retirement age is a debatable issue even among veteran professionals and policymakers. Aging is inevitable and so is retirement from duty. Once a health professional steps into old age, they are required to leave their office. Of many reasons that necessitate the departure, sliding mental function with possible impact on service quality holds the greatest relevance. However, one cannot ignore the fact that aging does not necessarily cause cognitive decline.

Another thing to consider is that public health is a very sensitive issue. Even a slight misjudgment can lead to a serious consequence. In this way, setting the doctor’s retirement age limit seems rational.

But can we decide a doctor’s competency by the numbers on their birth certificates? Or isn’t it true that older doctors have more experience than a fresher graduate? Many such questions spark a debate and, looking at the current trend, we can only expect to see more in the future. Statistics show between 1975 and 2013, the number of US physicians aged 65 or above has multiplied four times. Similarly, 25% of US doctors are 65 or above. Nonetheless, not all of them are practicing.

With all things considered, the issue is just getting more complicated with every passing day. This article will explore the pros and cons of determining a doctor’s retirement age. Also, you will learn its impacts on public health.

Current Guidelines on Doctor’s Retirement Age

There is no standard guideline that forbids a doctor from practicing solely based on age. Nevertheless, they must meet the licensing criteria set forth by the state. Moreover, many hospitals may screen for age before recruiting. In a nutshell, we can say doctors are free to practice as long as patient-health is not compromised.

The American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education also supports this. Even so, the AMA urges all older physicians to develop a set of standards on their own and monitor it regularly.

Why Setting Age Limit May Be a Good Idea, or Maybe Not!

The Good

Who does not get old? Everyone does and no one is immune to the effect of time.

By the same token, doctors also age and get health problems just like the general population. For example, impaired hearing, weak vision, and memory problems. Other conditions include anage-related decline in decision-making, decreased concentration, and slowed response. All these could possibly dent their competency.

Moreover, many older doctors who have been practicing for decades do not easily accept that their time is gone. They may work even if they have clear signs of age-related impairment.

For the proponents of age-based competency testing, these reasons are enough to raise their voice.

The Bad

Now there is the other side of the story.

The critics strongly believe cognitive impairment is not exclusive to the older doctors. Even a fresher mind could have any of these problems. To further support their view, they assert that the wealth of experience senior doctors have cannot be ignored.

Many senior doctors see fewer patients as they age. Consequently, they have a lower workload,therefore helping them work more efficiently and effectively. This also ensures that more doctors are available to serve.

The University of Virginia Health System and Stanford Health Care conduct special screenings for doctors above 70 and 75 respectively. To everyone’s surprise, most of them secure good scores. This clearly raises a question if examinations are only the way to assess a doctor’s competency. After all, life is more than just a pass-fail examination.

The Bottom Line

From the doctor’s viewpoint, age should not bar them from practicing as long as they fulfill the requirements and provide an effective care. Nevertheless, they may work for fewer hours and appear in cognitive tests whenever the authorities demand.

The decline in motor skills and mental functions, in general, does not occur overnight. For this reason, preventing a competent but old doctor from seeing patients does not seem too logical. If the decline is very serious, this will naturally show up in the form of a critical issue.

Senior doctors should also update their knowledge periodically to keep up with the rapidly changing health technologies. Also, they should be aware of their time of retirement and not associate retirement with a loss of self-respect.

Increasing age might be a problem for surgeons but it is less likely to leave any considerable impact on the performance of general duty medical officers

What You Can Do as A Patient

You have to understand that this is more of a tussle between skill and experience rather than young and old doctors. If something can compensate for skills and experience, you would not mind getting checked by a 90-year old or a 25-year old doctor.

At the end, it all comes down to your personal preferences. In any case, make sure to seek professional help only from a competent doctor. Before scheduling an appointment, here are some tips to follow.

  • Prepare a list of potential candidates based on which services you are looking for.
  • Streamline your search by eliminating the ones who do not fit your criteria.
  • Check the doctor’s profile using innovative online tools like You may also go through reviews by other patients.
  • Request to schedule the appointment and, before that, be clear about what to ask during the visit.

Want To Know More?

To learn more about the potential advantages and disadvantages of setting the doctor’s retirement age, visit Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.


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