luke_wheeler.jpgLuke, Radiologist from the UK to NZ 

My Name is LukeI came to NZ on 1st Jan 2020 from South Wales (UK) to work as a Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist.

The process to come to New Zealand took around 6 months, the easiest part of which was getting job offers. ACCENT were fantastic every step of the way, and the hardest part of the move was deciding which job to take! I had to weigh up the different pros and cons of each and having not lived in New Zealand before. 

I've spent this lockdown period doing my usual work, but in smaller volumes. I’ve also been taking the kids out locally – a lovely beach is a 5 min walk away as is a large golf course which has become a temporary (highly manicured)  park! 

What first struck me about New Zealand was the welcoming, warm climate, and feeling of space. The best parts about it are the clean, well-cared for environment with lovely (often quiet) beaches on the doorstep.  I am also enjoying meeting so many friendly people (in and out of work), and the better work-life balance and more opportunities for getting outdoors (mainly as the weather here is better than in Wales). What I miss the most is friends and family and the accessibility to continental Europe for holidays.

Much of the work is similar to my previous role in Wales, but new systems take time to get used to. The Health Board locally has electronic requesting of imaging and electronic notes, both of which my previous employer did not have. My work now is a little less sub-specialist than previously but colleagues have been very supportive in my weaker areas. My fantastic colleagues make the transition easier and all the local staff have been wonderfully supportive, although they generally also were where I worked previously.

Prior to coming to NZ, I had only limited training in Obstetric ultrasound in the UK as the Obstetricians had taken over that workload. Here in NZ there is an expectation that radiologists are more involved with that work, so I am upskilling with support from my line manager.

If you are thinking about coming to NZ, my advice would be to get organised. Have checklists to make sure everything gets sorted. Remember (for doctors) that you cannot apply for the visa until the registration process with the New Zealand Medical Council is completed (this took MUCH longer than obtaining the visa).

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