If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
I cannot remember when I first decided to work in Australia. It was an ambition that seemed to have been with me before I even started medical school. British-trained doctors have been going to Australia for work for decades. We have grown up with Neighbours and Home and Away. I, like many Brits, have distant relations living there. In my mind - I was always going to go there.
As I went through the years of medical school and the foundation programme, NHS doctors would ominously state how hard it was to get a job in Australia nowadays. But I thought I might as well make a few applications and see what happens. The relentless hardship of being a foundation doctor had made me decide I was not going to apply for speciality training this year anyhow, so I was either going to have a year off or work in Australia.
I managed to secure five jobs offers - in a mixture of emergency departments and working on wards. I knew I wanted to be by the sea, but aside from that I had no particular destination in minds. I chose to work in a DGH-sized hospital, but due to its more rural location, it had a large emergency department, which received many trauma patients.
The expectations of working as a doctor in Australia - better lifestyle, more flexible hours, better pay, and friendlier colleagues - were met or surpassed. I couldn't quite believe how lucky I was to work in such inspiring and supportive environment. Luxuries of overtime pay and being able to choose my annual leave, were considered standard in Australia. Being paid by the hour meant that I felt appropriately compensated for all work that I did, compared to the weeks of free work I gave the NHS.
Half of my colleagues in Australia were British too, which made the transition very easy. Moreover, Australians themselves were always incredibly welcoming. I became a good surfer, explored the tropical parts of Australia, traveled to Indonesia, Fiji and New Zealand at a low cost. I made great friends and enjoyed the sense of freedom
However, after six months, the good feelings started to wane. The fact that it is sunny every day became normal, rather than exciting. Some days it was uncomfortably hot. My fiancé still lived in the UK and although we visited each other often, we wanted to live together. The long distance relationship was not ideal for us. I missed my family as well as friends from school and Uni. Skype would not cut it. Costs flying to and from the UK are huge. I missed being wrapped up warm on a winter's day. I missed the sophistication of a British urban lifestyle. I missed trivial things; from British Dairy Milk to Marks & Spencer. As such I decided to return to the UK at the end of the year.
Coming back home was wonderful. Working in Australia has given me an alternative perspective to the British healthcare system. It made me realise how remarkable and what a valuable resource the NHS is for patients. Many Australian patients had to pay for their care, and I felt their care was not superior to that in the UK. I like how speciality training in the UK has a clearer structure and timeline than in Australia. This makes planning one's life much easier.
If you're interested in academia, I'd definitely recommend the UK - which has many more universities and more funded projects. The day-to-day work of UK medicine is very similar to that in Australia and at the end of the day, they’re similar places, but one just has more dependable weather!
I still think of Australia from time to time, but mostly as a fantastic holiday, which came to its natural end. I have no regrets about coming home.
Adele Waters writes under a pseudonym and is a CT1 in Psychiatry.