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Why Australia is the top destination for UK medical students

Australia is overwhelmingly the favoured destination of choice for UK trainee medics.

A staggering 32 per cent of them plan to leave the country at the conclusion of their studies.

That’s according to a new study that surveyed 10,486 students across 44 medical schools in the UK.

It found that 3392 (32 per cent) intended to emigrate to practice medicine within two years.

Six per cent of them said they intend to leave immediately after graduation.

Thirty-two per cent are planning to leave after their Foundation Year One.

Another 61 per cent are intending to go after their Foundation Year Two.

Of the students planning to emigrate, a shocking 43 per cent said they had no intention of ever working in the UK again.

Half planned to go home after a few years with the balance intending to return after their medical training overseas.

It’s a disastrous result for the NHS.

Sixty per cent said they were either “not satisfied” or “not at all satisfied” with the prospect of working in the UK.

The survey reached a quarter of the entire UK medical student population.

Where UK medical students are going

The 2543 medical students intending to emigrate were allowed to list multiple destination preferences, resulting in 3266 nominations.

It saw Australia receiving a staggering 42.3 per cent of the vote.

New Zealand (18 per cent), USA (10 per cent) and Canada (10 per cent) the next most popular countries.

The intentions of the medicals students were mirrored by the number of doctors and nurses who have already applied to work Down Under.

For UK doctors seeking to work abroad, Australia was easily the most popular choice.

Australia had 8806 applications ahead of the UAE (3937), Canada, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland.

For UK nurses, 11,876 have applied to work in Australia ahead of New Zealand (10,112), USA, Republic of Ireland and Canada.

The number of nurses and midwives applying to work abroad has exploded by around 230 per cent in the last financial year with more than 16,000 applications.

Why UK medical students are leaving

Working conditions for doctors, work-life balance and junior pay levels were the three biggest reasons trainee medics said they will seek work overseas.

The ability to choose their work location, the standard of training, family reasons and the desire for a life change were all also reasons deemed as very important to more than half the medical students planning to leave.

The study rightly drew the only conclusion possible – that the NHS urgently needs to address the factors that are motivating students to abandon the country.

It also acknowledged that simply recruiting more medical students into the system won’t solve the core issue driving them out.

“The causes of the problem are complex, and finding a solution will require a multifaceted approach,” the report concluded.

“Steps could include improving work-life balance, increasing salaries, addressing the growing competition for specialty training posts and promoting greater flexibility in career pathways. 

“Undoubtedly, the continued loss of skilled professionals from the NHS represents a significant concern, so it is critical to consider means of reversing this trend.”

The British Medical Association’s Dr Latifa Patel said the situation is dire.

“This survey reveals the very real and worrying trend of doctors making the decision, even before they have qualified, to either practise medicine overseas, leave the NHS or leave the profession altogether,” she said.

“It is disheartening that medical students already recognise the extent to which our profession has been devalued through constant pay erosion and declining working conditions, and have made up their minds, as a result, that the NHS is not the right place for them to work.”

Why Australia is so popular with UK medical students

Medical students and established doctors and nurses from the UK are so keen to work in Australia because it offers everything that the NHS does not.

Let’s take a closer look at the top three reasons why UK trainee medics want to leave the NHS.

Working conditions – GPs in Australia are supported by a stable healthcare system that values them.

Australia boasts world-class medical facilities and clinics fitted out with the latest technologies.

On average, doctors in Australia spend six minutes longer with their patients.

This allows them to offer a superior level of care, leading to significantly better outcomes.

Work-life balance – There is a strong emphasis placed on achieving a work-life balance in the Australian healthcare system as a means of avoiding doctor burnout. 

Most Australian GPs only work between 35-38 hours per week and tailor their work schedule around their personal lives.

That’s compared to around 50 hours per week worked in the UK.

Pay for junior doctors – Junior doctors earn between $70-95,000 in Australia, depending on the state. That is roughly double what they earn in England.

The average GP in Australia earns at least $350,000 – more than twice that of their UK counterparts.

Superior lifestyle for General Practitioners in Australia

There are so many obvious reasons UK medical students want to work in Australia.

Lots of sunshine is just another one.

Australia enjoys tropical conditions in its north and a mediterranean climate in the south.

It results in hot or humid summers and mild winters.

There’s much more room in Australia which enjoys one of the world’s lowest population densities.

Compare three people per square kilometre in Australia compared with the UK’s 280!

Average house sizes in Australia are bigger than anywhere else in the world.

At 214 square metres, they are nearly three times bigger than those in the UK.

Do you fancy a big back yard with a garden and outdoor entertaining area?

What about a bbq and a pool for those long, hot weekends?

It’s yours for the taking!

And Australia’s bustling modern cities have everything you could wish.

The nightlife, sport, culture and quality of restaurants are the envy of the world.

Contact Health Recruitment Australia today

If you’re one of the thousands considering emigrating to Australia to work, let Health Recruitment Australia do the heavy lifting for you.

HRA is a recruitment agency focussed specifically on matching overseas doctors with the right clinics in Australia.

We can find you the right city, area, and practice to work in and help with all the paperwork too.

We’re a recruitment agency dedicated specifically to matching overseas doctors of all ages with the right clinics in Australia.

A significant GP shortage in Australia has opened up multiple opportunities for doctors interested in making the move.

Start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia about your options.

Contact us and view opportunities here.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!