In 1998, Australian statistics showed there were only 4,000 British doctors working down under. Last year, the number had rocketed to over 12,000 doctors with many more in related sectors like dentistry or pharmacy. So what is making Australia just so attractive for British doctors?
Income and Tax
One of the major draws for a British doctor is the relative earnings and tax when the UK is compared with Australia. Earnings are generally higher, and depending on where in Australia you are planning on working, the cost of living can be significantly lower. Due to the current skilled staff shortage in the Australian healthcare sector, many hospitals are offering additional incentives to attract the best staff, such as helping out with moving costs or finding children’s school fees while parents settle into their new home. This is in stark contrast to the UK where we read about newly qualified doctors struggling to find a position in their chosen speciality, or being forced to move miles from friends and family to take a job. Working hours are shorter in Australia, and should a doctor choose to work in excess of contracted hours, most hospitals will pay overtime at an enhanced rate.
The main reason for moving to Australia, whatever your profession, is a better lifestyle and better weather. Australia enjoys a warm, Mediterranean climate all year round and the emphasis on outdoor living is in direct contrast to the cold and damp weather we have in the UK. The work life balance is generally felt to be better in Australia, with doctors working more regular hours and having more flexibility over their shift patterns than working in the NHS. The Australian healthcare sector is sophisticated and well-staffed, and many doctors working there find themselves under less stress and pressure than working in the NHS in the UK. All of these factors combine to make working in Australia far more pleasant and enjoyable than in the UK.
Medical training in the UK is among the best in the world, and doctors, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals find it easy to transfer their skills and qualifications to an Australian setting. There are some administrative hoops to jump through to gain a licence to practice medicine in Australia, but these are far less than for medical professionals from other countries. There is no language barrier, and with so many other UK doctors working in Australia there are plenty of opportunities for networking and making friends with other professionals in the same boat.