A new residency program that will train physicians in Kamloops beginning next year won’t solve the city’s doctor shortage by itself, the program’s head cautioned Monday.
Dr. Selena Lawrie, a family physician and site director for the new family residency program, said historically about 25 per cent of doctors stay in communities where they trained. Lawrie spoke to a meeting of Kamloops Rotary on Monday at Hotel 540.
The residency program here, which will train graduated doctors from UBC and other medical schools in Canada and overseas, is scheduled to begin next July.
Starting in 2015, it will graduate eight family physicians a year.
If Kamloops follows the trend, that’s an addition of just two physicians a year — but Lawrie said the city and medical community can do better.
“I’m optimistic,” Lawrie said, citing the city’s setting, outdoor pursuits and enthusiastic medical communities as major attractors.
She also said adding two new family physicians to the city’s roster would be an improvement on the track record of the past decade.
In past, authorities have said Kamloops is short by about 10 family physicians, a situation that’s lasted at least a decade. Many more family doctors are set to retire in the next five or 10 years.
Lawrie is site director for the UBC-run residency program, which will use local doctors, known as preceptors, to train the newly graduated doctors.
While Kamloops has been home to medical students in past, the residents in the program are graduated doctors who are seeking expertise in family medicine over a two-year period.
They will train in settings that include family physician offices, at RIH, in public health and residential care.
Lawrie also said it’s important that both the medical community and citizens alike welcome resident doctors so they are more apt to stay here upon graduation.