Practice Psychiatry in New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world for psychiatrists. A top expatriate destination with a fabulous climate and lifestyle, stunning natural beauty, stable government and a strong economy, New Zealand offers psychiatrists unique opportunities to develop an interesting career combined with a wonderful lifestyle.
If you are interested in what New Zealand has to offer you as a specialist psychiatrist, or as a junior doctor seeking postgraduate psychiatry training and an internationally recognised qualification, read this article and learn how you can access these opportunities.
Key Facts: Psychiatry in New Zealand - Mental Health and Addiction Services
- New Zealand has just 4.3 psychiatrists per 100,000 population, half the ratio recommended by the World Health Organization.
- Psychiatry has the second highest percentage of international medical graduates (IMGs) among all specialty areas.
- IMGs make up 59 percent of the psychiatry workforce (based on registration data).
- Psychiatrists are listed on New Zealand's Long Term Skills Shortage List 2019
- Psychiatrists feature in New Zealand's Regional Skills Shortage List 2019
- The mental health and addiction services have been modernised and restructured and are continuously upgraded.
- Psychiatry education and clinical research opportunities are excellent
- Many specialist and subpsecialist psychiatrist jobs available throughout the country
- Opportunities for leadership skills and roles and clinical directorship positions
- Abundant opportunities for junior psychiatrists in training
- Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (FRANZCP) is an internationally respected qualification accepted by many medical licensing bodies globally including Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and more.
Psychiatrist Skills Shortage
New Zealand has prioritised the recruitment and immigration of psychiatrists which feature as a shortage skill on both long term and regional skills shortages lists of 2019.
The New Zealand government recognises psychiatrists as crucial to the implementation of the Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Action Plan 2017- 2021 (currently being updated) and on going projects for psychiatry service quality improvement.
Mental Health and Addiction Services have been stretched by the increasing demands placed upon them by demographic changes; a fast growing population fuelled by an immigration boom and an aging population. This has been exacerbated by the covid19 pandemic, which left New Zealand relatively unscathed but placed social restrictions on the population.
The Mental Health and Addiction Workforce Action Plan 2017-2021
International Specialist Psychiatrists: Medical Council of New Zealand Registration
- EPIC Report - primary source verification of qualifications which can be obtained and managed within the EPIC Portfolio
- IELTS or OET Test to demonstrate English language proficiency if English is not your native language or if you are not eligible for an exemption
- Assessment for eligibility for vocational registration by submission of a completed form and references.
Psychiatry Specialist Positions
- General Adult Psychiatry: in patient, out patient and community mental health teams dealing with adults aged 18-65. Some roles are in early intervention teams or acute teams.
- Addictions Psychiatry: managing susbatance abuse in community teams, often in Maori communities
- Old Age Psychiatry; elderly patients 65 years and above. Dementia services have on going quality improvement projects.
- Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: children and adolescents aged 18 and under
- Liaison Psychiatry: hospital based roles working with medical and surgical patients
- Forensic Psychiatry: working with mentally ill patients in the criminal justice system
Postgraduate Psychiatry Training - House Officers and Registrars
International medical graduates wishing to specialise in psychiatry and undertake postgraduate training in New Zealand, should first apply for a house officer (PGY2 and above) or registrar (for physicians PGY3 and above with some experience in psychiatry) job with one of the public sector hospitals in the 20 district health boards of New Zealand.
These hospitals have two types of positions - training and service roles. The former are accredited by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists for training purposes whilst the latter are not. The service posts still offer sound clinical experience and can be a excellent entry point to the New Zealand healthcare system whilst you find your feet in the country and obtain full general registration and recognistion as a trainee psychiatrist.
The next step is to register as a trainee psychiatrist with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and start to have your work experienced recognised.
The specialist training is divided into three levels- basic, intermediate and advanced - Stages 1,2 and 3 respectively and the College provides details of the competencies, assessments and examinations required to pass the Fellowship exam which allows the psychiatrist to obtain the Vocational Registration and practice as a specialist or consultant.
Annual salaries in the public healthcare system are paid according to the national collective agreement for Senior Medical and Dental Officers and are determined by years of experience.
Additional on call duties attract extra payments
Typical salaries are NZ$ 200-300 K per year
Salaries are paid 2 weekly
Work related expenses are reimbursed. This includes annual practice certificate, voactional registration fees, College Membership fees and course fees
6 weeks paid annual leave
Continuing Medical Education (CME) allowance of 10 working days and $16,000 per year.
Sabbatical enitlement after 6 years of service
House Officers and Registrars
- NZ RESIDENT DOCTORS’ ASSOCIATION COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT determines the pay and conditions of resident medical officers (house officers and registrars)
- Registrar annual basic pay NZ$ 76,186 -187,890
- House officer annual basic pay NZ$ 59,949- 132,451
- Basic pay depends upon working hours
- working hours limited to 16 hours per day and 72 hours per week (7 consecutive days)
- paid annual leave 6 weeks
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