March 5, 2019 12:40 am

B.C. medical students call for increase in residency spaces

WATCH: UBC medical students push for more residency training spots

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Medical students from the University of British Columbia travelled to Victoria to advocate for increased residency training spots for graduates on Monday.

“This is so urgent, there are people going unmatched ever year,” said senior chair of the UBC Medical Undergraduate Society’s Political Advocacy Committee Previa Randhawa.

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“Every unmatched student means one less doctor for the B.C. population.”

Every year, there are increasing numbers of medical students who are unable to practice medicine after graduating due to the lack of training positions.

In 2018, 14 of the province’s 288 graduates were unable to complete their medical training.

“The issue right now is increasing the ratio of medical student spots to residency spots,” said UBC Medical Undergraduate Society president John Liu.

Currently the ratio in B.C. the is one-to-one. The students are calling for a 10 per cent increase.

Based on the annual 288 graduates, that’s an additional 29 spots.

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“This is the most cost effective way to produce more physicians,” said Liu.

The need is there.  There are more than 700,000 British Columbians who don’t have access to a family doctor.

UBC Medical Undergraduate Society VP external Devon Mitchell said there are others on waitlists for specialists.

“It’s an issue that touches across all specialties and while we want lots of these spots to be in family medicine, we’d also like to see some specialist training spots made available as well.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix welcomed the group in the legislature.

He said he recognizes the gap in the system, but wouldn’t confirm if the government is planning on moving ahead with the requested increase.

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“We’re taking their concerns very seriously,” said Dix.

“Obviously, we want to use fully the resources of the healthcare system to provide better care for people, and people who have made such an extraordinary commitment to their education to become doctors – we want them to be working.”

Once a student graduates from medical school, they are required to complete post-graduate training before they’re allowed to provide medical care.

The next match is in March 2020.​

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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