J.T. - GP from Singapore
Kia Ora! I am from Singapore and am working as General Practice Registrar in Masterton on the North Island, 1.5 hour drive from Wellington.
I arrived in New Zealand 10 days before starting work in mid March 2019 and am nearing the end of my second month. It has been an excellent fit thus far.
My first contact with Accent Health Recruitment was in mid Nov 2018, leading up to two interviews in mid Jan 2019, and I accepted this job offer the same week. All in all, the entire process took me 4 months. It was fairly straightforward, and Prudence provided me with clear guidance on what to expect along the way. The most challenging part was practicing patience while facing delays with the Medical Council of New Zealand. I received my letter of eligibility for registration a mere 2 weeks before my start date. Prudence was calmly supportive, and had introduced me to an Immigration Advisor who helped to expedite my work visa.
I had previously visited New Zealand for 2 weeks in April 2017 (on a Lord of the Rings tour), and very much enjoyed the scenery, culture, and people. Being blessed with a 4 day work week this autumn, I have had the opportunity to travel on the weekends, exploring the abundant natural beauty of this country. For one who had only done 1-2 hour walks in balmy Singapore, the highlight of my travels was making it over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (21km, 7hour hike). In these months, I have learnt to deeply appreciate the care that Kiwis take to preserve their natural heritage, as well as the cultural tolerance that is taught from an early age.
I had previously worked in the public hospitals in Singapore, then transferred to the polyclinics for 2.5 years. The practice of medicine is very similar, and I am enjoying the increased scope and time for communication afforded by 15 minute consultation slots, and flexible management, at my practice. Nurses are a brilliant help here, very much like nurses back in the polyclinic. Acute cases are more varied and do take longer, as taking sick leave without the need for a medical certificate is widely recognised in NZ. HealthPathways provide clear local guidelines for the management of most conditions, and I have found their referral criteria to be particularly useful. The IT interface and community (nursing) support are comparatively more developed in New Zealand, as they have a few years’ head start on Singapore in this area. However, services such as imaging and operation lists in the public sector are comparatively slower.
In this season of life, I am enjoying the slower pace in a rural town, and brilliant night skies out in the country. I admit to missing the convenience of shopping malls, the easy access to evening events, and the wide range of foods places in Singapore.
My advice if you are planning to come to NZ is to do your background research well, and be clear on what you are seeking. The Ministry of Health and MCNZ website give a good overview of their healthcare system, funding, and registration process. I also highly recommend the PDF download “Cole’s Medical Practice in New Zealand”. Accent also co-hosts regular Webinars to provide information on the job search criteria and relocation process. With her years of experience, Prudence was wonderful in matching what I was looking for, with a practice which I am very much enjoying.
Wishing you all the very best in your future journeys.