Doctor Careers & Lifestyle: Tasmania in Focus Part 2
Continuing our series of Tasmania in Focus blogs, we bring you the stories of two adventurous Ochre doctors who made the move to King Island and Flinders Island in pursuit of the ideal medical work-life balance.
First stop King Island
Welcome to King Island, famous for its incredible cheese, seafood and beef, two stunning world class golf courses and some of the most spectacular beaches and rugged coastlines in Australia. Situated 80 kilometres off the north-west coast of Tasmania, King Island is home to 2,000 locals who all enjoy the beauty and adventure of this unspoilt rural haven.
One of the island’s newest residents is GP Ann Buchan, who was born in Melbourne and grew up on the Mornington Peninsula. After visiting her grandmother in a Melbourne hospital at the age of three, she knew she wanted to be become a doctor.
“I remember just falling in love with the idea as a child, and General Practice was the perfect fit for me: I really like people, I like the follow through you get as a General Practitioner and the continuity of care you just don’t get with other specialties,” she says.
After raising her three sons and running her own General Practice for 18 years on the Sunshine Coast, it was time for a change.
So in 2019, Ann and her new wife bought a house on two-and-a-half acres in the township of Pegarah, in the centre of King Island. “We have an amazing environment here, where the soil is rich and fertile. And I’ll let you in on a secret—we grow a European garden here and it’s a gardener’s paradise. The produce on King Island is amazing,” she says.
Not only does Ann enjoy the rural aspect of life on King Island, but she also loves the artistic community established there. “What many people don’t know about the island is there’s a hidden yet thriving artistic community. And it’s not just confined to painting. There are a number of very talented residents working with ceramics and timber as well as quilt work,” she explains.
After working her way around Tasmania with a number of Ochre Health Practices in Scottsdale, Queenstown and St Helens, Ann is now enjoying her role at the Ochre practice in Currie, King Island’s largest town.
“We’re only 15 minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Australia. We really have the best of everything here.”
Flinders Island adventures
Off the north-east coast of Tasmania lies Flinders Island, the largest of the Furneaux Group of 52 islands, and offering a great variety of breathtaking experiences. From pristine coastlines with beautiful beaches, to the rugged pink and grey granite mountain ranges, Flinders Island is a hugely desirable career and lifestyle destination for GPs and locum doctors.
UK GP Alex John moved to Australia with his family in 2008 and has been practicing at the Ochre Medical Centre on Flinders Island since 2019. Alex never set out to be a rural GP, but after starting a family, he was drawn to the hands-on experience and the chance to broaden his skill set.
When we spoke to Alex, he was working in a clinic on an island just south of Flinders Island called Cape Barren, where the population of only 100 are mainly indigenous. “I find the cultural depth and diversity on Flinders Island and the surrounding Islands very appealing,” he says.
“These are unique and beautiful islands, and home to unique and beautiful people with a range of different health problems. I’ve been taking x-rays, running the local pharmacy and looking after patients with mental health needs. During my time here, I’m hoping to improve the services and outcomes on the islands, particularly on Cape Barren and for Aboriginal patients.”
Alex and his family are settled and enjoying the eclectic mix of people. The island's population is only just over 1,000.
“Flinders Island seems to have a habit of drawing like-minded and professional people to its shores. Kylie Minogue’s makeup artist [!] lives here as well as a famous circus performer who toured the world. There’s also a great mix of people from the Americas and Asia,” he says.
“And because the population density is so low, I can walk my dog along the beach without bumping into hundreds of people. I have time to think, time to plant tomatoes and time to hang out with my family. And the commute to work is only 30 metres!”
Curious about Jobs for Doctors in Tasmania? We have VR GP & ED opportunities on King Island, 12 Day Locum Blocks from July through to November 2020, and more. Browse Here For Tasmania GP Jobs.