Working in New Zealand after completing foundation training
More doctors are taking time out of training to work abroad after completing the foundation programme. Prashant Kumar and Sarah Miller describe the process that doctors must navigate to work in New Zealand
The proportion of doctors who opt to work and travel after completing the UK foundation programme has risen in recent years, from 3.7 % in 2011 to 6.5% in 2013. New Zealand has become a preferred destination for UK doctors, and the lifestyle available there means many choose to stay. The promise of friendly locals, a better work life balance, and a wide variety of outdoor activities led us to pack our bags and fly half way around the world. We now work in a small district general hospital in the coastal town of Timaru.
In previous years, many medical jobs in New Zealand were secured after a few emails and a quick telephone conservation. But, with increasing numbers of New Zealand medical graduates and more UK graduates remaining in post in New Zealand, competition for jobs is rising. The application process for positions has also become more structured, in contrast to the informal nature of recruitment in previous years.
Prepa mercurial superfly ration is the key to success, so start organising yourself early. Ensure yo mercurial superfly ur curriculum vitae (CV) is up to date and that it shows that you are professional, organised, and, above all, a team player. A good CV can take weeks of editing and re editing to complete, so factor this into your timescale. Preparing your CV also helps to identify gaps in your professional development, and you can then focus on filling these gaps with audits, presentations, or publications.
The New Zealand health service is divided into 20 district health boards. Job applications are not centralised, so individual applications must be made to each board. Start by emailing the hospital administrators, but be prepared to pick up the telephone and call since your email may be among dozens that they receive each day.
Each district health board will tell you when job vacancies will be posted on their websites. The New Zealand academic year begins in November, so it may be easier to secure jobs starting in this period rather than those beginning in August. Advertisem mercurial superfly ents for jobs starting in August normally begin to appear in January, whereas mercurial superfly those starting in November generally appear in April.
Applying to each district health board takes time. Every application will require your CV; a covering letter; and certified copies of your degree, passport, and advanced life support certificate. Some also have multiple clinical space questions that require careful consideration. From personal experience, we recommend completing one application every two to three days. Approach each application with a fresh mindset to avoid mistakes, such as pasting the wrong district health board into an application.
Anecdotally, recruitment agencies receive a mixed reception from UK doctors working in New Zealand. Some doctors have secured jobs through agencies, whereas others have heard nothing from them. However, since registration with an agency is normally free, there isn much to lose from signing up with them. Be prepared, though, for yet more paperwork, as each agency will need copies of your CV, degree, passport, and advanced life support certificate.
Inform your current educational supervisor of your plans, because he or she can advise you on how to improve your CV. Also, most district health boards in New Zealand now require one of your three referees to be your current educational supervisor. Warn your referees that they may be contacted by numerous district health boards. Most boards now use the same reference template, so advise your referees that they can type out their comments and copy and paste them, rather than having to rewrite references for each application you made.
The paperwork does not end once you have secured employment. You will need to gain an in principle from the New Zealand Medical Council, which requires paperwork from both you and your prospective employer. Dependent on any previous time spent in New Zealand and the length of your contract, you may be required to undergo a medical or have a police certificate issued.
Despite the mountains of paperwork before you get there, life in New Zealand is very rewarding. We are both gaining a lot of clinical experience and have a better work life balance than we ever imagined was possible. So, if you decide to go, you might need to warn your parents that you may never return to the United Kingdom.