It’s at this time of year that many people start considering (or in many cases start re-considering) the idea of a move abroad.
A new year brings with it new hopes, a fresh start and the opportunity to do something you’ve been hoping to do for a while. So why not make 2018 the year you finally go for that new life overseas?
Over the next six weeks we’ll look at a select group of the countries we work with, and examine why you should make the move in 2018.
During this we’ll recap some of the major news stories from 2017, look at the health issues facing the country, what sort of person would be suited to a move, and what the future could have in store. So read on, and join in the conversation on social media using the #OdyMTM2018.
In the first article in the series we’ll look ‘down under’ at New Zealand. One of the most consistently attractive destinations for expats looking to leave the UK.
What Made the News in 2017?
January began with calls from the New Zealand medical journal to introduce a new heart screening programme for newborns, in an attempt to reduce the death rate from congenital heart defects.
Later in the year Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland became the first in the country to use Samsung’s ‘S-Patch’ to assess arrhythmia. Meanwhile joint plans between Waikato University and Waikato DHB to build a new medical school were given the green light.
As we reached June, the country became one of the first in the world to use humanoid robots in training. A month later a generous donation of $50m allowed Wellington to start work on a new children’s hospital. Winter was a busy period for the country, with the NZ Medical Association also calling for a ban on the sale of alcohol in supermarkets.
At the beginning of September the country’s Royal College of GPs warned that a shortage is on the horizon, with 47% planning to retire within the next decade. A fortnight later Mohammed Siddiqui, who had worked for six months as a psychiatrist on forged documentation, was sentenced to four years in prison, followed by deportation to India for his reckless and terrifying crime.
Finally the year ended with North Shore Hospital in Auckland becoming the first in the country to perform robot-assisted knee surgery, whilst an OECD report surprisingly rated New Zealand as the third most obese they worked with.
What are the Biggest Health Issues in the Country?
Mental Illness - New Zealand is facing a major problem with increasing rates of people suffering from mental health conditions, whilst the country’s suicide rate is also continuing to rise - especially amongst men.
A male in New Zealand is more than three times more likely than a female to commit suicide, with it now being one of the main causes of male deaths in the country. In 2015 there were roughly 3,027 deaths by suicide, of which 2,292 involved males. That figure was a notable rise on 2014, where it was given as the cause of 2,864 deaths.
Lung Cancer - Lung Cancer is becoming increasingly widespread, especially amongst female Maoris. The Maoris are the indigenous people of New Zealand, and live lives that blend tradition with the 21st century. As a result smoking rates amongst this group are high, especially amongst women where estimates suggest as many as 40% of the country’s Maori population use tobacco.
Alcohol Abuse - New Zealand is facing a major problem with alcohol abuse, despite the rates of those consuming it dropping from 82% in 2005 to 79% by 2012. The number of people over the age of 15 drinking alcohol to potentially dangerous amounts sat at 15% two years ago, whilst Ministry of Health statistics showed that 8.4% of drinkers consumed a large amount of alcohol at least once a week.
Excessive alcohol consumption can bring with it a range of issues, with cirrhosis of the liver, Anemia, Cancer and depression all closely related to it - this means that it has become a massive burden on healthcare. In 2009 the cost of alcohol abuse on New Zealand’s healthcare sector was estimated to be around $4.9bn.
Who is Suited to a Move?
New Zealand is fairly unique in that it is a country that is suited to all different groups. Younger medics will be taken in by the range of high quality training roles on offer, and the prospect of an active lifestyle. Those with a family will be impressed by the extremely healthy work/life balance that will allow you more time with those you love, whilst senior roles still come up for experienced medics who may wish to spend their final working years in the country - whilst helping to teach the next generation.
We think that it’s particularly perfect for people with a family looking for a long-term move. Whilst locations like the Gulf and China are often used by medics for short-term locums onwards, few people stay for more than a decade. That isn’t the case in New Zealand, where people often put down roots.
What Does the Future Have In Store?
This is always difficult to predict, however New Zealand looks to have a stable and potentially exciting future in the world of healthcare. The Government is stable, as is the economy, so there is little chance of a crisis, with only the possible lack of GPs and Psychiatrists potentially causing issues in the not too distant future.
For long-term security a move to New Zealand is as secure as a one can be.