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Working in Australia

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Looking to apply for a job in Australia?



Looking to apply for a job in Australia?
Dr Richard Lowe
Ex. CT2 Anaesthetist - KSS deanery

I decided to apply for jobs in Australia mid-way through CT2 anaesthetics. I was struggling to get my exam and fancied getting some more acute medical experience prior to commencement of the lengthy, 5 year journey of the anaesthetic registrar programme.

Having enjoyed ICU so much I thought that a bit of extra medical experience would be beneficial, and going to Australia gave me the opportunity to travel and also take in working abroad and experience of a new healthcare system.

As I had friends who had previously loved working in Perth it seemed like the natural choice and it was easy to pick up the necessary contacts.

I started work as a "resident" or "RMO" at the Royal Perth Hospital in Coronary Care. Working as an RMO is a bit like being an F2 and I felt it lacked the responsibility and experience that I was after. After 3 months I moved to Peel Health Campus, about an hour’s drive south, to work as an ED registrar. Although a much smaller hospital, I am getting much more hands on experience and finding my anaesthetics skills really useful.

Where to look for jobs

Apply direct

I found my job at Royal Perth Hospital by contacting the hospital directly with contacts from a friend.

Initially I found getting contacts quite difficult as there is very little to go on from the hospitals websites. The best thing to do is to ring the hospital and get in touch with the Clinical Services department, or ask for someone in recruitment. Once you have got an email address the rest can be done via email.

The big hospitals in Perth are Royal Perth Hospital, Sir Charles Gardiner and Fremantle Hospital where you will find no shortage of British and Irish doctors around, especially in the ED.

Agencies

 If you are looking for big city hospital placements then I would steer clear of agencies. They tend to offer placements in the more rural hospitals. Examples of agencies to try: www.imrmedical.com and www.doctorsrecruitment.com

Contacts

Speak to people in your hospital and ask if they have any contacts as most consultants seem to have friends who have emigrated. Otherwise if you know of any friends who have been, then ask them. Just getting an email address is enough to get the ball rolling.

Anaesthetic Jobs

Jobs in acute medicine are pretty easy to come by, however anaesthetics jobs are far trickier. Most positions are reserved for Australian trainees. To get involved you need to contact the anaesthetics department of the hospital directly. 

NB: Medical placements abroad will not be accredited for training towards Intensive Care.

Pay

In the big city hospitals you can expect to earn a basic salary of $75- 85,000 as an RMO and $95-115,000 as a registrar depending on how many years of experience you have. As with the UK you get extra pay for working nights, weekends and public holidays.

Working in a rural hospital you can expect to earn even more. Most hospitals pay every two weeks.

Paperwork

There is quite a bit of paperwork to sort out so that you can be accredited as a doctor in Australia.

The paperwork takes some time to sort out and is fairly expensive too but it is important to get started early to avoid disappointment.

Before you leave the UK

AMC registration

This is the first thing you need to sort out, so get started pretty much as soon as you have decided that you want to go as it u about 2 - 3 months to come through. This is  basically to confirm that you are who you say you are and that you are a real doctor.

Most applications are made through the competent authority pathway and the application forms can be found on the AMC website: www.amc.org.au

For this you will need certified copies of your passport, driving licence, degree certificate and proof of foundation competencies. For certification you will need to take your documents to a "notary public." Unfortunately they are quite strict about this and you cannot just get another doctor or a normal solicitor to sign them. For a list of "notaries" look on the website: www.thenotariessociety.org.uk. Prices vary so shop around; I paid £60 to have all my documents stamped.

AHPRA registration

The next step is to apply to the Australian health practitioner regulatory agency. In order to do this you will have to have been offered a job as there is a certain amount of paperwork that has to have been completed by the employer.

You will be registered with limited registration probably in an "area of need." Your registration will cover you to work in a region of Australia, so you won't be able to work all over without having AHPRA's approval.

Your employer will direct you to which form you must fill in but it is likely to be an AANG-03. Again to accompany this application you will have to send through "notarised" copies of your key documents. I just sent photocopies of the stamped documents and that was ok but I may have been lucky.

This process is slightly more costly and you will expect to pay a total of around $1300 in 2 instalments for the privilege.

Visa

Again visas are initiated by your employer and you will be recommended for an e457. This entitles you to work in Australia for 4 years.

If you are married or have a long term partner then you can apply for them to be part of your visa as a "de facto." This is definitely a good idea as an e457 visa is vastly superior than a working holiday visa in terms of gaining employment for your partner.

You can apply for your visa online at www.immi.gov.au and the whole process takes about 1-2 months. You will need to complete a 1066 form and submit the usual documents, along with evidence of health insurance (travel insurance will do) and your CV. You will also need a copy of you AHPRA "in principal" approval letter. These can all be uploaded online.

You will also need to get a medical and chest x-ray conducted by a specified medical centre listed on the immigration website. Again they are strict about this and you cannot just get a chest x-ray at your local hospital. This costs around £300 in total.

Once you get to Australia

With the Australian dollar being so strong it means the cost of getting set up is expensive.

AHPRA

You will need to complete AHPRA registration by attending the local office where you will pay half of the registration fee. You need to do this at least a few days before you start and you will be unable to work until this process is complete.

Accommodation 

Rents are expensive and you can expect to pay anywhere between $350 - 600 per week for a two bedroom flat. Bigger houses work out cheaper per person and you can often get something much nicer too.

The system of renting through estate agents is also quite different as you can only view properties when they have an "open house" day. If you like a property you have to pay a deposit and make an application (usually 1 week’s rent). If you get the flat/ house and decide not to go for it, you can forfeit the deposit money.

Good websites for rentals are www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au

Gum tree and local papers are also a good place to look too.

Cars

The public transport system in Perth is good but the network is quite limited and you will probably find that you will enjoy having a car, especially if you want to get out of the city to explore.

Second hand cars are also expensive and you can expect to pay between $2000- 5000 for a run around. Buying from a dealer is more expensive and offers a degree of peace of mind; however you can pick up a bargain from websites like gumtree.

www.carsales.com.au has a good range of cars from dealers and private sellers.

Medicare

You will need to register with Medicare - Australia's version of the NHS. There is an agreement in place with the UK which entitles you to public healthcare. After a week of being in the country you can visit a local Medicare centre with a copy of your passport and visa to register.

Banking

You will need to set up an Australian bank account. This is fairly simple and you just need to take your passport and an address to a local branch.

Be warned, when you take money out from a cash machine that does not belong to your bank, you will be charged a $2.00 fee.

Tax File Number

You will need to get a tax file number for work to ensure you are taxed correctly. This can be done by applying online at www.ato.gov.au


Salary Packaging

If you work in a public hospital you are entitled to claim back a portion of your salary tax free (about $10,000 a year) so it is well worth doing. You are also able to claim tax back for money spent dining out (up to another $10,000) but will need to keep receipts as proof of purchase.

I used Smart Salary www.smartsalary.com.au who charge $25 per week and provide you with a separate "meal entertainment card" and "living expenses card"


Summary

I have tried to give an overview of things that you will need to do to get working. Most of the information is completely relevant to applying anywhere in Australia and I hope you will find it useful. I have so far had a great time working out here and there plenty in the way of social life, beaches, wildlife, water-sports and travel to keep you occupied when you're not at work. 

The work out here is very similar to in the UK and you are well supported wherever you go. There is plenty of opportunity for experience and it is easy to do things like audits, presentations and courses to further enhance your CV.

Good luck

Richard Lowe

Ex. CT2 Anaesthetist - KSS deanery

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