Views And Reviews

You're never too old

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6934.986 (Published 09 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:986
  1. J Patterson

    My wife and I have recently returned after two years in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. We have been working for a project which provides a primary health care service to some 25 000 Afghan refugees in three camps not far from Peshawar. We were recruited and placed there by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Nothing new about this; after all VSO has been doing this sort of thing for 30 years and there are now some 20 000 people who have been VSO volunteers. What raised some eyebrows among friends here before we left was that we were then aged 64 and 67.

    My wife is a trained teacher and social worker with a lot of administrative experience in both local authority and voluntary organisations. I had been a general practitioner for 20 years and then a medical officer in the civil service. About seven years ago, when we saw retirement approaching and first talked to VSO, the messages were mixed. Our qualifications and experience were welcome, but our age was against us. Because of the attitude of many overseas governments it was difficult to place volunteers of 55 and over. We persevered and were accepted, but when after …

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