My Name is Anne. I am a General Practitioner from the Netherlands who arrived in NZ in February 2019.
It took only 6 months to move over, with the most tedious part of the process being getting registered with the Medical Council; so much paperwork! Luckily, after that everything else felt like a breeze, with the easiest part being finding a house in Christchurch thanks to Prudence and the team at AHR!
When we first landed in Auckland, we bought a mini-van and slowly made our way down to Christchurch, passing many gorgeous beaches, beautiful landscapes and impressive mountains along the way. Not only was the scenery stunning, but all the people we met were incredibly friendly.
The major difference in the day to to day work that I do is the fact that people pay for their visit. In the Netherlands, everybody has basic health insurance and a consultation with a GP is covered but the insurance company. This may seem like a minor detail, but it makes a big difference in the role that I have. Another different aspect is that I function as an occupational physician here as well, writing sick notes for patients that can't go to work or filling in forms or medical certificates in order for people to get a benefit. There are also not many house visits, even 90-plus patients come in for consultations. That being said, Consultations are 15 minutes per patient, which makes it easier to connect with people and learn about their circumstances.
The computer system and referrals to the hospital are very similar in process. Doctors and nurses work together in the same way and the medicine itself is fairly similar as well. There is a bit more psychiatric care that is treated by GP's here I find, but I work in a low socio-economical area, so I can have a biased view on that.
If you are planning on coming to NZ, I would definitely recommend travelling at least part of the country before settling somewhere; there are so many amazing things to see and do. In Christchurch, where we live, you can literally do a morning walk on the beach and afternoon hike in the mountains. You can even go skiing in winter! My other recommendation would be to get onto the paperwork as soon as possible – it can really build up if you’re not careful!
We definitely miss our friends in the Netherlands. If we could bring them here we would never leave NZ! Don’t let that stop you from making the move though, you learn so many new things and your life will be richer because of it.