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Why are Britain’s GPs relocating down under?

Written by: Prospect Health
Published on: 27 Mar 2017

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Prospect Health looks at why British doctors are moving to Australia

More and more UK doctors are taking up GP jobs in Australia. The reasons are many and varied, but the main attractions include salary, minimal paperwork, more time to spend with patients and an improved lifestyle.

Opportunity to earn over £200k

GPs in the UK might expect an average salary of £70,000. The Australian system is more complex, as earnings are worked out as a percentage of a practice’s proceeds – but GPs in Australia can hope to earn in excess of £200k per year. Our clients, PHCL, are also offering a golden handshake of £250k if you sign up to a five-year contract.


Find out how much you could earn as a GP in Australia


Less red tape

Yet the financial differences alone are unlikely to make doctors relocate to the other side of the world; a number of the factors relate directly to the expected workload, and the red tape surrounding this. Whilst the Australian GP system is based on a 40 hour week, in the UK GPs are nominally expected to do 40 hours and more with regular 12-hour days not unheard of. Not only is there the out-of-hours work, there’s also the additional paperwork on top of the overrunning surgery times, due to the increasing number of patients. 

Admin support

A recent survey found that UK GPs spend an average of 87 minutes each day on work-based paperwork, compared to just 51 minutes for those in GP jobs in Australia. And PHCL give their doctors additional admin support so this time is cut down even further. Similarly, Australian GPs spent about a third of the time their UK counterparts do on repeat prescriptions (11 minutes compared to the UK’s 30).

More time with each patient

Conversely, the average appointment time is six minutes longer ‘down under’ – meaning there are fewer patients and more time in which to deal with them. Dr Nathalie Departe, a British GP working in Australia, says: “Here I found I was not penalised if I spent time with a complex patient to sort out their needs.” 

Escaping ‘burn-out’

Another Australian-based Brit, Dr Mark McCartney, shares this view: “In the UK we work in an environment of running harder and faster to meet demands – without the resources.”

Many GPs in the UK are at risk of burning out, and the contentious changes to the NHS that continue to be implemented by Jeremy Hunt are only adding to their desire for GP jobs in Australia. As Dr Rob Galloway said: “Jeremy Hunt is the best recruitment consultant for the Australian health services”. 

With its superb climate and enviable way of life, it’s not difficult to see why Australian GP jobs are appealing to British doctors.


If you would like to organise a confidential chat, with our specialist consultant, Liam Fordham, about relocating to Australia, please ring 01423 813450 or look on the GP Jobs website for our listed jobs.

Prospect Health is a medical recruitment company, and partner to PHCL, one of the biggest Primary Healthcare providers in Australia.


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