Top 5 reasons why Doctors are moving to New Zealand

By Melinda McCarthy published on 16/09/2020

It goes without saying that New Zealand is one of the safest, peaceful, most beautiful places to live. Add to that their progressive politics, incredibly friendly Kiwis, very low COVID infection rates, sustainability policies, small population and relaxed lifestyle and you really do have a home away from home.

Although the borders are currently closed, Ochre Recruitment is continuing to assist Doctors and their families make the move. We asked our doctors who have made the move, why they find New Zealand such an appealing place to live and work.

Employment conditions

It’s no secret that employment conditions are better in New Zealand than in many other countries. If you’re a doctor fed up with poor working conditions in your homeland, the burden of an overwhelming volume of paperwork, low staff morale, red tape, budget constraints or the rising cost of indemnity insurance, you’ll love the NZ healthcare system.

Because the focus on healthcare in NZ is based around the patient rather than the bottom line, decisions are made ethically. This makes a huge difference to the culture, patient outcomes and well-being of doctors and health professionals in general.

Many doctors work between 32 – 40 hours per week—a far cry from the hours doctors in the UK, for example, are obligated to work. There are numerous opportunities for extra after-hours work and weekend work if you want it, but it is not mandatory. The pace is slower, people are generally more relaxed, and everyone is in it for the right reasons. But don’t just take our word for it:

“The New Zealand Healthcare System allows you to have genuine relationships with your patients, to speak your mind and talk about available medical modalities and have real discussions with patients; one does not have to worry about patient satisfaction scores; the government does not withhold pay for not making the patients happy… everyone is concerned about general well-being and not about making money for the hospital.”

ED Specialist Dr Burke

Career opportunities

For many years now, New Zealand has been a popular destination for junior doctors during their training. Working in a different healthcare system and culture broadens their medical perspective, allowing them to expand their horizons and develop as medical professionals.

The broader scope of work in general practice provides more opportunities in procedural specialisms and areas of interest such a women’s health, chronic illness, and occupational health. There are also more opportunities to buy into a practice.

The fact is, there is an acute shortage of skilled medical professionals in New Zealand, and a very large proportion of the healthcare workforce in NZ is foreign trained. With patient backlogs and long waiting lists, demand for eligible doctors from abroad is high.

There are a lot of opportunities for doctors in all specialties; psychiatry, radiology and surgery in particular.

Many of these specialties are deemed "essential" by the Government, making it easier for doctors from overseas to meet immigration requirements. If you are arriving with a specialist qualification, we can tell you whether it is recognised, and if it isn’t, we'll help arrange what you need to do to have it fully recognised.

For US-trained physicians looking to move to New Zealand visit Hippocratic Adventures for a detailed overview of transitioning to practice medicine in New Zealand, from medical registration to immigration.

Change of pace

The progressive attitude to welcoming immigrants and relaxed pace of life makes New Zealand a very attractive and vibrant place to live in.

“The easy-going atmosphere, the great outdoors, friendly people from all over the world and the sparsely populated country made NZ a great destination. Stop considering the move and make it happen! I haven't met anyone who had regrets of making the move.”

Dr Jacob Stiggelbout, General Practitioner

Unspoilt landscapes

Life in New Zealand is all about the great outdoors and unspoilt landscapes. The world-famous range of activities including fishing, camping, white water rafting, hiking, cycling, surfing, and skiing are all on your doorstep—you don’t need to travel far to embrace nature. 

New Zealanders have a strong connection to their land. The Maori people lead the way in this regard and have set the tone for all Kiwis to respect and value their precious landscapes. Big on making choices that puts the environment before money, New Zealand have led the way in eliminating the use of plastic bags and are clean and ‘green’ by world standards.

Raising a family

New Zealand is the ideal place to bring up children. It is regularly voted as one of the best countries to live in, for individuals and families alike. Parents choose NZ for its high-quality education options (did you know that NZ is ranked as one of the best overall education systems in the world?) as well as cheaper housing costs.

According to the 2018 Global Peace Index, NZ is the second safest country in the world.

The wealth of outdoor activities is perfect for families who want to raise their children in the clean fresh air. The wide-open spaces allow for easy access to sporting fields, parks, nature reserves, cycling tracks and much more. The range of housing offers something for everyone: suburban homes with large backyards, townhouses, or apartments close to the city, quaint houses dotted along the coastline or rural living on an acreage.

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Whether you are considering a move from Brexit or the rigours of the NHS; perhaps you are contemplating a sea change; or maybe your long term career goals can’t be achieved at home and you’re looking abroad for opportunities to pursue your specialty interests and/or leadership aspirations.

Either way, if you love a grand adventure, New Zealand is the place to be.

Register for our Working in NZ Webinar on Sunday 18th October at 8pm (UTC). Everyone who attends will receive our guide to working in New Zealand.

Alternatively, get in touch with our resident Kiwi Anna Drakeford for more information on rewarding GP jobs.

If you are a consultant or registrar looking for a 'new life in the sun', contact Gary Heath (who himself made the move from the UK to NZ) for more details.

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