Boasting more than 30,000 kilometers of coastline, an average temperature of 24 degrees celsius and a world renowned relaxed way of living it’s not hard to see why over 1 million UK born residents are currently residing in Australia.
What many medical professionals fail to realise however is that the dream of a better life ‘down under’ could very easily become a reality, as plenty of job opportunities for general practitioners are opening up every week.
So what are the main attractions of the country itself?
Australia has one of the lowest population densities in the world, with an average of just 3.13 people per kilometer squared. This means that it is a large open place which is largely full of unspoilt, natural beauty. It’s therefore ideal for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and those who want away from the hustle and bustle of busy city life.
The two most well known natural wonders in Australia are Uluru (or Ayers Rock) and The Great Barrier Reef, which is listed as a natural wonder of the world.
Uluru - to give it its Aboriginal name - is an 863m high, 2.4km wide natural sandstone rock formation which is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Considered to be sacred by the local Anagu people, it can provide a fascinating insight into how people lived on earth an estimated 10,000 years ago due to its astonishing petroglyphs.
Located in the south of the Northern Territory state, over 200 miles from the nearest large town it is also the perfect place to spend an evening stargazing. The unspoilt surroundings and the crystal clear sky lead to an out of this world experience.
Whilst Uluru is located in the middle of the sandy, dry outback in the centre of the country the eastern coast is surrounded by the stunning Great Barrier Reef. The world’s longest coral reef which stretches for over 1400 miles around the North Queensland Coast and is home to over 600 different types of both hard and soft coral as well as 1500 species of fish and 15 separate species of sea plant.
Attracting over 2 million visitors annually it is a must-see attraction for anyone living in the country, and is the only one of CNN’s 7 natural wonders of the world to be located in the continent.
Whilst Uluru and the Barrier Reef are the two most well known natural wonders which are admired by visitors to Australia, they are very much just the tip of the iceberg. The ‘Twelve Apostles’ are a collection of limestone stacks in Victoria which need to be seen in real life to be truly appreciated, whilst the country is also home to ‘Fraser Island’ the world’s largest sand island which is located in Queensland.
If unspoilt natural beauty is your thing, then Australia would truly be the best place in the world to call home.
Don’t fear that this remote natural beauty means that Australia is a quiet, desolate place however. It’s home to some of the most desirable, action packed and vibrant cities in the world. The bustling state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are packed full of facilities that will keep everyone no matter their age, nationality or interests entertained and occupied.
The world renowned Sydney Opera House, with it’s stunning sail like roof, is just one of many live music and events centres throughout the country. Whilst fans of art will be mesmerised at the National Gallery of Victoria and Brisbane’s Centre for Modern Art.
That’s not all, for a sports fan there can be no country better than Australia. It is a national love and whether it’s rugby, cricket, football or motorsport that you enjoy you are sure to find plenty of quality action to keep you entertained.
The national cricket team play games in all formats around the country, whilst there’s a thriving regional league system. National and local leagues are also big in football and rugby, whilst Albert Park in Melbourne is the host of the first Formula 1 Grand Prix every year, and there’s also the infamous Bathurst 1000 race at Mount Panorama in New South Wales.
If you’re interested in sport, then you would love Australia.
So, if the lifestyle is appealing to you then it’s time to think about taking your career ‘down under.’
Gathering information about a country’s health care system is crucial if you are considering a move abroad. Here’s the basics that you should know before moving to Australia.
As an incoming GP you will firstly be directed to work in areas where there are staff shortages. This is a system known as the District of Workforce Shortage and you will only be granted a Medicare billing number if you are practising in one of these areas.
After ten years working in the country you’ll be allowed to move throughout it and practice where you wish, but you are restricted until that decade benchmark.
So, potential restrictions aside, what is the healthcare system like?
As with most countries there is a variety of public and private health centres. The public system is funded by the state along with a 2% ‘Medicare levy’ which is paid by all taxpayers within the country. This amounts to a total of almost 9.5% of the country's GDP being spent on healthcare.
For the patient primary care is provided on a fee for service basis where it is funded by the individual, or more commonly, the government. Secondary care - when referred by a GP - is provided free of charge. As well as this medicare provides initiatives to improve general health in the country. This includes education in diabetes, asthma and sexual health.
Worldwide the healthcare system in Australia is highly thought of, and the high life expectancy of 82.15 years (almost 2 years greater than the United Kingdom’s) is testament to this fact.
The main attraction for NHS staff to Australia however goes on behind the scenes. As a GP you will be self employed but tied down to a number of practices in a certain area.
The infamous NHS bureaucracy and seemingly endless forms that require filling in will not be an issue ‘down under’, leaving you with plenty of time to do the part of the job that you love. This means that you will almost exclusively be seeing and treating patients whilst you’re at work.
To put it in the most simple terms working as a GP in Australia is very much the same as it is in the UK. You will usually work 9-5 Monday to Friday, with occasional weekend or evening appointments, and you’ll be working with modern equipment in a contemporary facility. The only real difference is that the weather will be better, there will be far less red-tape and far more freedom for yourself and far less form filling which you will need to carry out.
Oh, and the small issue of a more attractive salary!
In your first year as a GP in Australia you can expect to receive gross earnings of around AU$240,000 (around £125,000) rising to around AU$450,000 (roughly £235,000) during your time in the country.
Typically GPs will be on around 65% commission, and that’s what these rough figures are based on, but this will not be the case in all practices and regions. Some will offer lower commision rates with cash based bonuses or lump sums, whilst in areas where they are especially struggling to recruit practitioners the commission number can rise even further.
If the idea of life in Australia is appealing to you then it could be time to look in further detail about how you go about starting your new life in the country.
In order to gain employment in Australia as a GP you require to be registered with the RACGP (Royal Australian College of GPs). This is a process which can take a great deal of time due to its complexity. It’s a system which will classify all practitioners as category 1 or category 2.
Category 1 is for practitioners who do not need an examination or further training to prove their medical competence. For British trained individuals this means that if you have both your MRCGP and CCT (or old JCPTGP) certificate then you should find yourself in category 1. Doctors with these qualifications will all be individually assessed, but should pass into category 1.
Other qualifications, such as those from countries outwith the West, are likely to see you fall into category 2. Don’t let this end your Australian dream however, it simply means that you will require additional training before being granted RACGP registration.
For further information on the process the Australian Medical Council has created an online guide with further information. http://www.amc.org.au/assessment/pathways/specialist/recognition
Whilst the RACGP also provide a guide to what qualifications are likely to gain you entry to each category, along with a self-assessment form to fill out that will decide how eligible you are to work in the country.
In brief the process should go like this:
1.Organise all your personal documentation and qualifications
2.Register online to the Australian Medical Council for EICS / ECFMG endorsement of your MBBS and MRCGP qualifications
3.Forward notarised copies of MBBS and your GP qualification, along with the application forms you have filled in and the fee to the AMC
4.Start the RACGB process using their online portal after receiving confirmation from the AMC that the above paperwork has reached them
5.Upload the documents they request, alongside a confirmed job offer or job description and your certificates of good standing
6.The RACGP will then assess your application and (assuming that you meet the criteria) will award you Category 1 status and the ‘ad eundum gradum fellowship’
7.Assuming that, that is awarded you will then be given 6 months in which to accept the job
So if you want to go for it, and start a new life in Australia, now could be the perfect time. Currently GP jobs are opening up across the country all the time, and the healthcare system is continuing to expand and develop at a phenomenal rate.
If you believe that Australia could be where the future of your career may lie then register on our website https://www.odysseyrecruitment.com/ and receive notifications when job opportunities arise. The dream could be much closer than you think.