Multiple Motivations for Making the Move

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Alasdair Spinner is attending the Royal College of Radiologists Annual Scientific Meeting next week. Before he goes along, he’s examined the reasons why some Doctors may consider looking for work overseas. 

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I'm travelling down to the RCR's  scientific meeting in London to talk through options with interested doctors regarding opportunities for temporary or permanent migration that are open to them in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and Singapore

Naturally my goal is to get the attention of doctors at the conference who have thought of working overseas and who will want to take the opportunity to get some data about life in particular countries: how the local College registration process works, salaries etc. The meeting will give me scope to talk to doctors who may have never considered working overseas, but in passing may hear or see something that piques their interest. If I do secure work placements for Radiologists in Australia, meeting them at the conference will be the first discussion of many over an approx. 6-12 month period (depending on the location) until they actually set foot in the country (for other countries the timeline tends to be a bit shorter). 

Some doctors that we work with at Head Medical may have long standing professional ambitions to work in a different country, others will have strong personal, political or social reasons. Others are simply keen to take a sabbatical or enjoy a new life. Clearly, not all doctors are the same when it comes to why they want to leave their current location and position of standing. As a desirable location and first class health care system, Australia provides an illuminating example. As a nation of migrants with an indigenous population, it attracts people from all over the world and is a fantastic example of a prosperous, peaceful, well-educated, multi-cultural, multi-faith democratic society that is continuing to mature. A populist and rather simplistic idea tends to focus on the concept that doctors who relocate down under are only interested in two things: sunshine and working less hours. Whilst there has been the odd doctor who has moved for these reasons (or who enjoy it for those reasons!), people who peddle this belief in the media as determining factors do no justice to the vast majority with other, more complex motivations.

Currently I am working with a radiologist who describes himself as a teacher and a researcher. His primary objective is to work in a first class healthcare system. Ideally, this would be in a teaching hospital where he can draw upon the intellectual and material resources available in Australia - that he currently lacks in his country of origin - that would provide a strong and stable platform to undertake his work. Another doctor, a physician and an expert in wilderness medicine, is interested in working in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territories where life expectancy can be around the mid-40s. He wants to make a real impact in health care within this remote group - this underpins his motivations. Then there was the famous case of Dr Munjed Al Muderis, the Australian trained Orthopaedic Surgeon who arrived on Australian shores as a junior doctor in 1999 on a battered boat, a refugee. Or there is a client of mine, a UK born and trained radiologist who moved to Australia to do a sabbatical for a couple of years and ended up staying for 12, setting up and running a multi-site practise. I asked him why he never went back to the UK. He sighed and said "I just never got around to it".

Whatever your motivations for examining the prospects of a new life, I'd be interested in hearing them, or your questions about working in Radiology overseas, at the conference next week.

If you would like further information on Radiology opportunities in Australia, contact Alasdair Spinner on +44 (0)131 240 5276 or email al@headmedical.com.