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John - GP, Hanmer Springs

I arrived in NZ in September and the process to come to NZ took me approximately 5 months. The easiest part of the process was getting the job – Accent Health Recruitment are super-efficient!

Hi, my name is John. I am a GP from England now working and living in North Canterbury in Hanmer Springs.

My first impressions of NZ were that it is absolutely Stunning, Stunning, Stunning! I feel that the best parts of NZ are the scenery and the friendly people.

Some differences I have noticed between my new NZ workplace and the UK are the appointment times are 15-20 mins versus 7-10 mins in UK. I believe that the type of patients varies considerably depending on whether you are working in a farming community or the centre of a city or town.

Patients seem extremely well informed and want to discuss their condition in far more depth than patients in the UK.  Rural nurses are highly skilled practitioners, no UK equivalent except a GP, so very well supported. Hospital specialists are very approachable and willing to discuss patients.

The "Healthpathways" resource in Canterbury is excellent and ensures that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Much more easy to follow than NICE Guidelines. Fellow GPs in other practices are very friendly and supportive.

The most challenging part of the process was going through the visa process and what I miss the most is having a few pints of English beer with my mates.

My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is bring an iPad or similar to keep in touch, bring some extension leads so you can plug all your electrical gadgets in without changing plugs, be prepared to drive long distances to go places or get stuff - it's not a huge change of mind set.

Tips for the English - NZ is different from the UK, even though we more or less speak the same language! Food prices (and some alcohol) can be a shock but it is all good quality. Mobile phone contracts are steep too. Having said that, it's much cheaper to run a car, there are no TV licenses etc so it probably works out much the same. I have been amazed by how pleased my patients are to have me here- it's a lovely feeling.