Record number of trainee Psychiatrists provide major boost to services


A record number of trainee Psychiatrists have started work across Western NSW Local Health District’s (WNSWLHD) mental health, drug and alcohol services this year, providing a significant boost to local services and communities.

Following their orientation today, the cohort of 14 new doctors will undertake work across a range of different mental health units and services.

Four will complete a term in mental health and then return to the general hospital, while 10 of these doctors have chosen to specialize in Psychiatry. They will train in a number of different disciplines to ensure diversity of experience.

Of the group, 10 doctors will be based across Orange and Bathurst health services and another four will begin work at Dubbo Hospital. The trainees are being welcomed to the District from a variety of locations and backgrounds, and at varying stages of their training.

Psychiatry training requires a doctor to undertake a minimum of five years of study and supervised work in mental health, in addition to the years in medical school and undertaking internships. WNSWLHD is accredited by the Royal Australian College of Psychiatrists to provide this training.

Helen McFarlane, WNSWLHD Acting Director of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services, extended a warm welcome to the 14 new starters.

“It is a pleasure to welcome such a large group of Psychiatry Registrars to our District, this is our largest intake of trainees and they will play a crucial role in providing care to our communities and keeping our people healthy,” Ms McFarlane said.

“In previous years we haven’t had such a large number and this year’s increase is testament to the success of our local training program and the breadth of experience these young doctors are able to get across our services.

“It’s pleasing to see the range of experience has among this cohort. We have three starting their first year of Psychiatry training, three who have come from Sydney to gain regional experience, and another two who are moving to Orange specifically to continue their training.

“We also have two local doctors completing a Psychiatry term as part of their general medical experience. We’re thrilled to welcome these trainees to our program and we hope they may all choose to stay long-term.”

Dr Catherine Hickie, WNSWLHD Psychiatrist and Psychiatry Training Coordinator, said the new starters will train across a range of different disciplines to ensure diversity of experience, adding to the program’s already-successful history.

“Western NSW was the first regional Local Health District in NSW to have all the necessary training available so that doctors can remain resident locally throughout the five years of training,” Dr Hickie said.

“This matters because these are the pivotal years when doctors settle on the community they will make their home, forge personal and professional relationships, and start families.

“Most who trained here have stayed in the District as well, and so far we have graduated 12 Psychiatrists with two more about to finish in 2024. These include specialists in acute mental health, community psychiatry, older people’s mental health and child and adolescent psychiatry.

“The new doctors who are starting today will join an excellent Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol service committed to educating the next generation of doctors. This is why we have been successful in recruiting. We are so pleased to welcome these doctors.”

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