About The VMS

About the VMS

The Victoria Medico-Chirurgical Society was founded in 1895, laying the ground work for what is now known as the Victoria Medical Society. On December 6th, 1899 Dr. J. D. Helmcken was elected the first President of the VMS. In 1917, the VMS became incorporated under the Benevolent Societies Act. In 1911 the VMS grappled with the idea of starting a library. They appointed a committee and in 1922 a library was established. In 1932 the library moved to St. Joseph’s Hospital. The library grew to the point where the Society had to hire a librarian to take care of the incoming circulations. In 1979 the VMS donated the library to the Royal Jubilee Hospital where it continues to operate today. The VMS provides resources and supports wellness within our medical community. All VMS decisions are reached by an elected committee. The Victoria Medical Society is supported with membership dues and is associated with South Island Medical Staff Association.

Mission Statement

The VMS celebrates 127 years and continues to provide assistance to doctors and the general public. For physicians, the Society provides an arena to unite colleagues informally. The VMS hosts and helps facilitate various annual social events such as:

  • The Listerian Oration
  • The Annual General Meeting
  • Victoria Branch – Federation of Medical Woman of Canada events
  • The Annual Island Medical Student Welcome Dinner
  • The Family Practice Resident Welcome

The VMS is run by a collaborative team and all decisions are determined by elected committee members. Additionally, the VMS Archives Committee collects and stores medical artifacts, thus helping to preserve the history of medicine on Vancouver Island. Currently, the VMS Pemberton Committee is excited to be involved in a fundraising project to restore the historic Pemberton Memorial Operating Room.

The VMS continues to provide a service in helping the public find a physician. As the number of General Practitioners decreases in Victoria, it is essential that the public has access to those doctors who are willing to accept new clients.

Victoria Medical Society Mandate

The mandate of the Victoria Medical Society was originally outlined in the BC Societies Act of 1918, and revised in 2019. Our mandate is as follows:

  • To promote good health and act as an advocate on health issues.
  • To promote good and appropriate medical practice in accord with the Code of Ethics.
  • To promote the good name of medicine.
  • To promote continuing medical education.
  • To promote fellowship and good relations within the profession and with the public.
  • To help, as much as possible, any member in distress from any cause.
  • To advocate for any doctor or group of doctors subjected to injustice; and to mediate, when requested, in disputes and differences between local medical groups or individuals. The functions of mediation and advocacy do not apply to any case under the jurisdiction of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of BC.
  • To cooperate with the Doctors of BC CMA and College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.

The non-profit office operates and provides services through funds provided by membership dues. It is a valuable resource to physicians, health care facilities and the general public.

The Chain Of Office

The Chain of Office was first worn in 1983 by our then outgoing president, Dr. Mike McNeely. The concept of creating a Chain of Office was first conceived by Dr. Pierre d’Estrubé. He contacted the noted BC artist Mr. Tony Hunt, who created the piece.

The chain was photographed by Rob Destrubé and the framed photograph now hangs in the VMS office. It’s value is estimated at more than $5,000. When transported, it is stored in a velvet bag. Care must be taken when wearing it, as the argillite is soft and marks easily.

The chain is worn by the president at all ceremonial occasions, such as the annual Osler Oration held in Vancouver each March, and at other times as stipulated by the president.