What being a Brit doctor in Australia is really like


An NHS doctor has claimed moving to Australia is not all it’s cracked up to be after pulling out of the application process due to the country’s higher taxes and fewer holiday days. 

It comes after several reports of British medical workers boasting of their ‘much happier’ lives Down Under, where they claim they are ‘paid double’ and enjoy a much better quality of life. 

But Dr Drew, who did not wish to give his surname, told MailOnline today that they are selling a ‘fairy tale’ that is ‘not the reality’ once all factors have been considered.

Dr Drew said he enquired about making the move himself but decided to stay put after becoming fed-up with the months-long application. 

He said: ‘It’s fairy tale… ”go over it will be the life of your dreams… You’ll be sitting on a beach sipping piña colada”’… It’s not the reality.

Popular YouTuber Dr Nora (pictured) moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but admits it's not for everyone

Popular YouTuber Dr Nora (pictured) moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but admits it’s not for everyone

Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at claims that medical workers like herself were 'selling a fairy tale'

Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at claims that medical workers like herself were ‘selling a fairy tale’ 

‘Do you know they have a 45% tax bracket for anyone earning more than $180,000 Australian dollars?’ 

In the UK the equivalent amount – around £96,000 – would be taxed at a lower rate of 40 per cent. 

However figures show purchasing power in a city like Sydney is 16 per cent higher than in London, meaning your salary goes further.  

Dr Drew added: ‘Do you know they have a claims-based insurance model for indemnity and staff are required to have runoff cover?’

ARE YOU A BRITISH DOCTOR, NURSE OR TEACHER WHO REGRETS MOVING TO AUSTRALIA? Email laurence.dollimore@mailonline.co.uk 

The GP also blasted the amount of paperwork. 

He said: ‘Primary source verification and application to racgp is estimated to have a 10-week processing time and four weeks to gather paperwork, but the amount of documentation they require I would estimate it to take eight weeks or longer.

‘They also require 10 clinical cases to be uploaded and letters from practices dating 48 months – or four years!

‘And GPs are independent contractors, therefore bypassing the whole salaried partnership model based in the UK, with no sick leave or annual leave!’ 

Popular YouTuber Dr Nora moved from London to the Gold Coast in 2017 and has never looked back, but she admits it’s not for everyone. 

The GP and cosmetic doctor, who has almost 25,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, worked for the NHS for five years.  

Responding to Dr Drew’s criticisms, she told MailOnline: ‘These are valid concerns, not including all the different billing codes of medicare to learn and developing a reputation for yourself as an independent contractor. 

‘It just depends on your mentality going in, if you’re looking for safety, the NHS is a great place to be a part of. 

‘If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, then it’s another great opportunity open out there for you to explore.’ 

Lisa Utton, an NHS Diagnostic Radiographer, is making the move imminently and agreed with Dr Drew that there have been some drawbacks. 

She told MailOnline: ‘It’s taken me nearly 10 months to make the move due to the level of paperwork and getting recognition for my qualifications and experience. 

‘The process was long and drawn out and I’ve had countless police checks every few months and checks on my UK HCPC register.’

Ms Sutton also fears her new colleagues may not be as well trained as those back home. 

She said: ‘In the UK I work with a number of overseas Radiographers who, in my opinion, often do not have the same level of experience as UK trained Radiographers. 

‘They aren’t as adaptive within a challenging environment such as A&E and often struggle in the beginning or find themselves heading home.

‘I have also been pre warned by my migrant agent that NHS staff often find it a bit dull working in Australia, because of the lack of challenges, so I will be interested to see how it compares and if she was right.

Nurse Hoole said: 'The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life.'

Nurse Hoole said: ‘The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life.’ 

Nurse Hoole said: 'I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I'm so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.'

Nurse Hoole said: ‘I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I’m so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.’

Cost of living much lower in Sydney compared to London, figures show  

The cost of living is much cheaper Down Under, according to data collected by insurance firm Budget Direct. 

The statistics shows that while groceries are 28 per cent more expensive in Sydney compared to London, most other life expenses are the opposite. 

Eating out is 15% pricier in London, while utility bills are almost double those of Sydney and renting costs are far higher. 

It means that local purchasing power – in other words how far one’s salary goes each month – is 16.34 per cent higher in Sydney than in London.  

‘There were times when the process was arduous due to the amount of hurdles, however it’s a place where individuals dream of going.’

Ms Utton said that Australia has a number of visas which will affect your benefits while living in the country differently. 

She explained: ‘My visa with my job is a temporary skilled work visa. Its valid for four years but I can apply for permanent residency after three years.

‘I am required as part of my visa conditions to have private health insurance set up prior to my arrival in Australia and I can then apply for their medicare (state funded).

‘They have a system where you need to be paying into to tax system or have an Australian passport in order to obtain any healthcare.

‘Yes, it’s a different system, but I currently work with more people from overseas than I do in the UK and feel like it’s a fair way to fund a healthcare system.’

She admitted: ‘I won’t get nearly as much time off as I currently do in the NHS,  as AFC pay banding and working in the NHS over 10 years I qualify for additional days.

‘Don’t get me wrong. I’m apprehensive. I’ve never lived with my partner before. He is a dual AUS/UK passport holder so he will come and go as he likes for work offshore.

‘Perth isn’t as well connected as the UK for flights so that is another down point. But if I don’t do it now, I never will!’ 

In response to a question on whether they planned to work as a doctor in another country within the next year, one third of the group agreed. Australia was the top destination, with 42 per cent of the cohort planning to move there. New Zealand (20 per cent), the Middle East, Canada and Europe, excluding the UK, (each 9 per cent) were also popular. One in 20 said they planned to go to the US

In response to a question on whether they planned to work as a doctor in another country within the next year, one third of the group agreed. Australia was the top destination, with 42 per cent of the cohort planning to move there. New Zealand (20 per cent), the Middle East, Canada and Europe, excluding the UK, (each 9 per cent) were also popular. One in 20 said they planned to go to the US

Ms Sutton said she applied for her Aussie job ‘impulsively’ one evening after ‘repeatedly seeing the advert within our radiology magazines and Facebook adverts via our union’, adding: ‘Talk about trying to push us away!’ 

She added: ‘The money is amazing and they pay my relocation fees. My NHS trust has given me a sabbatical to try and lure me to come back but our management is dire and we struggle with actually being paid properly, let alone what we get paid. 

‘Some of my colleagues were unable to pay their mortgages and childcare during the first wave of Covid when we were working like crazy. I’m going with a view of a working holiday but who knows if I’ll be back.’ 

Jessica Hoole, 41, a paediatric nurse who moved to Australia in 2007, hit back at some of the criticisms, saying the paperwork and other costs might be a pain but they are worth it in the end. 

She told MailOnline: ‘We do have a degree of indemnity insurance with our Union Cover, which we pay weekly, but that is a tax deduction for us, as is our registration with the professional body. We can also claim for other work related expenses like shoes and laundry.

‘I didn’t find the process to gain registration difficult, but perhaps it is more complex for doctors. But that isn’t something I’ve heard spoken about and we nurses receive very generous annual leave and study leave payments.’

She added: ‘When I’m not working we boat, we fish, we swim and kayak and stand up paddle board. The work life balance is really very good here I believe, and has given my children a great place to grow up.

‘I am one hundred percent sure that I made the right decision. I owe so much to this country and I’m so grateful that my nursing was the gateway to it.’ 

Aoibhín Bradley (pictured with her doctor boyfriend Matthew), 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

Aoibhín Bradley (pictured with her doctor boyfriend Matthew), 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

Aoibhín (pictured) has been a doctor for three years - graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine - and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic

Aoibhín (pictured) has been a doctor for three years – graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine – and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic

She added: ‘The quality of life is not even slightly comparable. I earn much better money. I live on the water and enjoy an active outdoor life. 

‘I have two jobs, one hospital based and one community based- which gives me really good balance. I couldn’t even consider working in the NHS again.

‘As much as I miss certain things about the UK, namely family and friends (and scotch eggs!), I couldn’t provide my children with a comparable lifestyle in the UK on a nurse’s wage.’

Aoibhín Bradley, 27, decided to turn her back on the NHS and find a job in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, after hearing about the opportunities Down Under.

She has been a doctor for three years – graduating in April 2020 from Queens University, Belfast, where she studied medicine – and worked on the frontline during the Covid pandemic.

But she struggled with the long shifts – claiming she often worked three hours past her end time – and took home £2,100 a month, based on a 48.5-hour week.

After completing further foundation training, Aoibhín took the plunge to move to Australia in September 2022 with her boyfriend, Matthew McQuaid, 29, who is also a doctor.

They both secured jobs in the emergency room of Gold Coast University Hospital, Queensland, and are able to work the same shifts so they get days off together.

Aoibhín now earns $6,000 AUSD a month – £3,202.53 – for a 36-hour a week. The doctors are paid a double rate if they stay late and for Sundays.

Aoibhín says the salary rate ‘blew her mind’ and she is now able to spend her days off exploring and camping in Sydney and Melbourne – compared to being too tired to do anything in her free time while working for the NHS.

Aoibhín, from Belfast, said: ‘You’re working to live – not living to work. Australia is more expensive but I’m still making multiple times more than what I was making at home.

‘At home, you did so many extra hours that your life consisted of working. I lived in Northern Ireland and there wasn’t anything to do in MY spare time.

‘I was so tired – I didn’t have the energy to do much. In Australia, pay-wise it’s incredible. You get paid per hour that you work. It blew my mind.’

It comes after British doctors and nurses who moved to Australia for better working conditions last week blasted the UK for failing to improve the NHS while forcing their former colleagues into ‘horrendous’ strikes over pay. 

Dr Michael Mrozinski (pictured), 37, told MailOnline today that he fears the NHS 'cannot be saved' after years of 'empty promises' to make working for the health service a more attractive option - most importantly by hiring more staff

Dr Michael Mrozinski (pictured), 37, told MailOnline today that he fears the NHS ‘cannot be saved’ after years of ’empty promises’ to make working for the health service a more attractive option – most importantly by hiring more staff

Nurse Natalie Joyner (pictured) said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago

Nurse Natalie Joyner (pictured) said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago

Dr Michael Mrozinski, 37, told MailOnline that he fears the NHS ‘cannot be saved’ after years of ’empty promises’ to make working for the health service a more attractive option – most importantly by hiring more staff. 

The Glaswegian said staffing levels were already a shambles when he left for Down Under in 2016, and that he feels ‘vindicated’ for making the move after seeing them fall even further since. 

He also now gets paid double what he would in the UK, and says he is treated ‘like a professional’ in Australia and ‘feels much more respected.’ 

While Dr Mrozinski has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him ‘call out medical misinformation’ to his more than 362,000 followers.  

He said: ‘I felt burnt out after working in the NHS for seven years… in Australia, management listen to my concerns and ideas for better patient care, whereas in the UK they couldn’t care less about any ideas I had.’ 

The doctor, who now lives in Melbourne, said he is ‘encouraged to have a good work life balance and encouraged to leave on time’, while in the UK ‘it’s expected that you stay late, with no thanks or appreciation.’ 

He added: ‘The main difference is I enjoy my job is because the work environment is fantastic, the hospitals are well staffed and there are relieving doctors if wards are short. 

‘This makes for more people to share the workloads, instead of less people and more work, like in the UK. With more staff, means there is more teaching and helps doctors develop even further. 

Dr Mrozinski (pictured) said he believes the 'the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out' and that 'they realise that the government isn't committed to making changes to pay or conditions.'

Dr Mrozinski (pictured) said he believes the ‘the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out’ and that ‘they realise that the government isn’t committed to making changes to pay or conditions.’

While Dr Mrozinski (pictured) has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him 'call out medical misinformation' to his more than 362,000 followers

While Dr Mrozinski (pictured) has vented online about the stark differences between the two countries, his popular TikTok channel is more of an educational tool that sees him ‘call out medical misinformation’ to his more than 362,000 followers

Scottish TikTok star Dr Michael Mrozisnki has been living in Australia for a few years now and regularly encourages more British doctors to join him

Scottish TikTok star Dr Michael Mrozisnki has been living in Australia for a few years now and regularly encourages more British doctors to join him

‘In the UK, teaching sessions were often cancelled due to not enough staff to cover the work when teaching was supposed to happen!’ 

Dr Mrozinski said he believes the ‘the goodwill of the NHS workers has run out’ and that ‘they realise that the government isn’t committed to making changes to pay or conditions.’ 

He said he would encourage anyone to make the move as it would ‘really open your eyes as to how healthcare workers are appreciated and valued.’ 

He added: ‘Australian healthcare plays the long game and realises that keeping workers happy and fresh, means they enjoy their job, do their best work and rarely need any sick leave. 

‘In the UK, most are on the verge of burnout, seeing too many patients in unsafe environments and needing time off due to stress – it’s a shortsighted plan with no end game.’ 

The doctor said it was ‘horrendous’ to see his former colleagues striking across Britain.   

‘Seeing the general public clap for healthcare workers during Covid but now calling them greedy for wanting pay restoration is appalling,’ he said. 

‘Unfortunately, I saw this coming a long time ago and it’s vindicated my reasons for leaving in 2016, and it’s much worse now than it ever was. 

‘Who knows where it will be in another seven years…. I worry for my family and friends who still live in the UK, because the NHS, in its current state is not good for healthcare workers or patients and I’m not sure it can be saved.’ 

Meanwhile, nurse Natalie Joyner said she has never looked back since making the move from the UK some eight years ago. 

The mother-of-five, 48, originally from Bournemouth, now works in the Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, and said she moved for a better lifestyle. 

She told MailOnline: ‘My actual nursing role is very similar to my role in the UK as I worked in a NICU in England… The two big differences are the pay…

‘The pay is much better here, I probably get paid about double, and the nurse to patient ratio, that is much better here.’ 

She added: ‘Work life balance is better too. I love walking out of the hospital at the end of my shift and it still being warm outside, or waking up from a night shift and going out to my garden and having a swim in my pool, and lovely walks in the sunshine on the miles of sandy beaches. 

‘On my days off my favourite thing to is relax and read by the pool. I feel like I live in a holiday villa and on a constant holiday. 

‘A couple of my old work colleagues have expressed interest and I actually got one of them a job here and she moved over in January.’ 

The latest figures show up to 40 per cent of the NHS workforce is looking to resign or retire in the next five years.

Ms Joyner added: ‘I feel very bad for them. I hear stories of nurses needing to go to food banks to be able to feed their families. They work so hard and are not appreciated by the government. 

‘We just got a Covid pay out bonus here, to acknowledge how hard we worked through the difficult circumstances. 

‘All the nurses in the UK got was a clap, they didn’t even get a pay rise. They still had to go to work while the government had a party!

‘I’m not saying it’s perfect here as we still have issues but we are definitely in a better situation than the nurses in the UK. I think the NHS is no longer working as it is & needs a revamp. I think Australia has a very good Medicare system.’



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