A new pediatrics residency training site on Vancouver Island is a further commitment by the Province to make sure British Columbians have access to high-quality health-care.
The launch of the new site – which will see residents training at Victoria General Hospital, as well as other health-care facilities in the region – is part of a suite of activities under the Province’s strategy to strengthen access to family doctors and other health-care providers for individuals throughout British Columbia. Through this work, almost 66,000 patients in B.C. have been matched with a general practitioner since 2013.
“Families on Vancouver Island will have better access to pediatric residents,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Bringing doctors in training to more communities in B.C. is part of our commitment to enhance medical education and make sure families have access to health care services, when and where they are needed.”
The new site, part of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) pediatrics residency training program, demonstrates government’s commitment to distributing and expanding postgraduate medical education. Evidence has shown that when a doctor completes residency training in a community, they are far more likely to remain in the area to practise later.
“There are a lot of factors that influence a trainee’s decision to stay in a community to practice long-term, but increased exposure to training outside of large city centres is a great way to open up our residents’ eyes to practice possibilities in other communities, including those on Vancouver Island,” said UBC faculty of medicine’s Dr. Jennifer Balfour, director of the new site.
“We are very excited by the launch of the new training site, which will not only enable pediatric residents to build lasting community connections on Vancouver Island, but increase access to physician services and help meet the health-care needs of communities across the region,” adds Dr. Roger Wong, associate dean, postgraduate medical education, UBC faculty of medicine.
There are currently two pediatric residents on Vancouver Island and the site is expected to have a full slate of eight residents by July 2018. The residency lasts a minimum of four years, though residents may do another one to two years of sub-specialty training in Vancouver or elsewhere. Overall, there are approximately 60 UBC pediatric residents participating in UBC’s pediatric residency training program.
“We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with government and UBC in optimizing pediatric speciality-care on Vancouver Island,” said Doctors of BC president, Dr. Charles Webb. “These new residency spots will help young patients and their families, as well as help with the workload that family doctors in the area have been shouldering.”
Victoria General Hospital is Vancouver Island’s pediatric specialty hospital, treating 90% of Vancouver Island children.
The opening of the pediatrics residency training site on Vancouver Island, and the expansion of UBC’s family medicine residency program to Kootenay-Boundary region, is part of a combined effort by the provincial government, Island Health, Interior Health, UBC faculty of medicine and communities to support the recruitment and retention of physicians to serve the health-care needs of B.C. citizens.
The residency training program reflects the goals outlined in the Ministry of Health’s overarching strategy “Setting Priorities for the B.C. Health System”. As part of this, a series of policy papers – with a focus on primary and community care, rural health services and health human resources – were created to help guide the province as stakeholders throughout the system work together to build a better health system.