- BC Games
Duncan's Dr. Tom Rimmer named B.C.'s family physician of the year
If Tom Rimmer is your doctor, you're in good hands.
The Duncan practitioner was named B.C.'s family doctor of the year Monday.
He, and his medical colleagues in other provinces, were nominated for the 2013 Reg L. Perkin Award by their peers, local leaders, and the 30,000-member College of Family Physicians of Canada.
"You could have knocked me over with a feather when the envelope arrived," said Rimmer, 52.
"It happened when I had a heavy patient load at the (Cowichan District) hospital, but my wife (Mona) opened it. Wow, what a surprise."
The Perkin award honours family physicians for outstanding patient care, significant contributions to community's health and well-being, and commitment to family medicine, teaching and research.
Rimmer fills the bill for the award applauding Dr. Reg L. Perkin, the college's former executive-director.
The 1995 UBC med-school grad is a preceptor to its family-physician students.
Rimmer is also physician lead of Island Health's Mental Health Module; mentors in the Cowichan Valley Community of Practice (helping docs shift to electronic medical records); and helped found the Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice Society that's boosting Cowichan's primary care.
But he happily shared his award credit with Cowichan's 80-odd doctors.
"I'd like it to shine a light on my community colleagues because we're all doing this — working with less, and making due.
"We provide full-service care, and that can't be said for lots of places. It's obviously a huge honour, and a bit of a celebration of the role we play in promoting community health, and elevating patient-physician relationships."
Relationships are vital to Rimmer.
"That's one of the most rewarding parts of the job; getting to know a patient, their stories, and their role in community."
Rimmer's role, since starting his Duncan practice in 2000, is helping heal his 2,500-some patients.
"Its a perfect-size community where family physicians do a bit of everything — we see patients in our offices, at the hospital, and in the homes of palliative patients, or patients who can't get in to see us."
Rimmer also assists in C-sections in CDH's maternity clinic he helped launch in 2011.
"I love the old hospital; we're the little hospital that could," the native Ontarian said. "It's people that make that hospital, and one of the reasons I chose Duncan."
CDH's 30 doctors, plus nurses and related staffers, work well together, he noted. "It feels like a community team effort."
Rimmer's part of CDH's popular 'doctor-of-the-day ' system that basically helps sick folks without physicians.
He proudly helped gain much-needed doctors for a Lake Cowichan clinic — while beavering to attract and keep doctors to the valley.
"Medicine is a big job, but I consider myself very fortunate," he said of his 50-plus hour week.
"I really love the work, and look forward most days to coming to work; you learn something everyday."
His biggest fear is making a mistake leading to patient harm.
"We make thousands of decisions everyday, they can't all be right. You have to stay current, and stay humble," he said.
The Perkins Award presentation happens at a Nov. 5 ceremony during the CFPC's annual Family Medicine Forum in Vancouver.