Over the last several months, the UBC Department of Psychiatry had been working closely with the Associate Dean, Postgraduate Education and the Health Authorities’ Regional Heads to develop a joint proposal to the Ministry of Health for the expansion of resident training positions in BC. The key objective of this proposal was to secure additional funding from the Ministry to implement a residency expansion plan that will first target Fraser Health and Interior Health, then potentially broaden its scope to other health authorities in the near future.
In June, we engaged with representatives from the Ministry to discuss in depth the critical need to expand residency training opportunities in Fraser, the Interior and other distributed sites, where the current numbers of locally-trained graduates are not expected to meet service demands as they continue to grow across BC.
I am very pleased to share that our proposal and subsequent meetings with the Ministry have led to a favourable outcome, as we have succeeded in securing funding for two (2) new residency positions for 2021-2022, which we have allocated to the Fraser Track. These positions are in addition to a position for which we obtained funding last year, resulting in a net gain of three (3) new residency positions for the Fraser Track since 2020.
In addition, we have been working on expanding the residency training program to Interior Health and as a part of this, we have obtained approval from the Ministry for a new re-entry residency position to be located primarily in the Interior for 2021-2022. This will serve as a pilot for the future planned expansion of the program to this region.
The Department will continue to pursue additional residency training positions, as well as focus on building stronger, more cooperative and more productive relationships with the Ministries and Health Authorities, all of which are priorities in strong alignment with the 2020-2025 UBC Psychiatry Strategic Plan. As stated in the Plan, the Department is committed to leveraging our partnerships to enhance residency training capacity across all health authorities and in underserved communities, address the anticipated shortfall of psychiatrists in our province, and transform care for people with mental illness and addictions. With the success of this recent endeavour, I believe we are making meaningful steps toward accomplishing these goals.
Dr. Lakshmi N. Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), MBA (Exec)