New child psychiatrist arrives to help with long waiting list

One of two much-needed child psychiatrists has arrived in Kamloops.

Dr. Paul Dagg at the Hillside Psychiatrist Centre said Friday one doctor finally got his immigration and other paperwork processed and began work last week.

For the past 20 years or more, Kamloops has had one child psychiatrist to handle everything from suicides to diagnoses of various mental illnesses.

Dr. Sheik Hosenbocus has been on the edge of burnout as a result of the workload and he has long wait lists. Two other child psychiatrists have come to Kamloops a few times a year to help out, but the city has been in desperate need of more of the specialists for a long time.

Dagg said the new child psychiatrist is getting settled while a second one is still in the midst of taking steps to also immigrate here. Both came from Ireland.

Dagg said there hasn't been word from the second specialist for a while, but he's optimistic he will still be coming to Kamloops since he hasn't heard otherwise.

In the meantime, the first doctor is getting oriented to help with Hosenbocus's workload as well as to help the Ministry for Children and Family Development, which provides a large part of youth mental health services.

"It's hard to tell what the impact will be. We got used to doing without for so long," said Dagg.

The difficulty now is, with a second child psychiatrist in town, how to divide up the work and take advantage of the extra help without overwhelming the new arrival.

"He'll be pretty swamped pretty quickly," said Dagg.

"We're trying to find a way that we can open the floodgates a little bit yet use him as effectively as possible."

Child psychiatrists are in short supply across the country. Dagg said it's difficult to get them out of the cities where they take training, such as Vancouver.

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