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Mental health boost: next generation of psychiatrists ready for regional WA

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
The new trainees from the Rural Psychiatry Training WA program, (back row ) Chance Drummond, Michael Taran, Matthew Davidson, Rahul Ingle, Ihab Soliman and David Townsend, (middle row) James Blomberg, James Hoimes, Phoebe Thornton, Greer Jalland, Katerina Chua and Marcela Quintero Silvestre, (front row) Alan Altham, Emma Cribb, Tanni Chowdhury, Sybil Trebeck, Diana  Taylor and Kirsten Humphries.
Camera IconThe new trainees from the Rural Psychiatry Training WA program, (back row ) Chance Drummond, Michael Taran, Matthew Davidson, Rahul Ingle, Ihab Soliman and David Townsend, (middle row) James Blomberg, James Hoimes, Phoebe Thornton, Greer Jalland, Katerina Chua and Marcela Quintero Silvestre, (front row) Alan Altham, Emma Cribb, Tanni Chowdhury, Sybil Trebeck, Diana Taylor and Kirsten Humphries. Credit: supplied

An initiative aimed at boosting the number of mental-health professionals in country areas has seen 20 doctors leave the city to gain both life and clinical experiences in regional WA.

Led by the WA Country Health Service, the Rural Psychiatry Training WA is the first dedicated rural training zone in Australia or New Zealand.

From this first ever cohort of trainee psychiatrists from the program, seven will be based at Bunbury Regional Hospital and one will be based at Busselton Health Campus.

While based in hospital settings, some rotations will also include placements in community settings across Busselton, Margaret River, Manjimup, Harvey and Collie.

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The locally trained psychiatrists who graduate from the program will then fill permanent positions in the regions.

WACHS mental health executive director Paula Chatfield said the program not only helped grow the workforce, but allowed the next generation of mental health professionals gain valuable experiences in real-life clinical settings.

“This cohort is trailblazing a new era of country healthcare, where our workforce is not only growing but is specially trained to meet the diverse and unique needs of country communities,” she said.

“The new trainees can look forward to developing their experience and clinical expertise in diverse communities – an opportunity that they wouldn’t usually get in a metropolitan area. And they’ll be learning from the best educators and specialists in country WA.”

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