In Consultation

The IPN blog for healthcare professionals.

  • Moving to Australia to Practice as a General Practitioner

    Dr Ged Foley
    Posted by on 05 Mar 2013

    Part of my role as the Chief Medical Officer of IPN Australia is to talk to GPs overseas about what their working life might be like if they were to move to Australia and how it would differ from their professional experience in their country of origin.

    As someone who obtained his Primary Medical Degree overseas, but completed his GP training largely in Australia, it is unsurprisingly a subject that I first thought I would be well-qualified to address. What I didn’t at first consider is that there’s a huge variety in the experience of our colleagues in other countries in terms of the delivery of care to their patients.

    All of us desire the best care for our patients, but the restrictions placed on health budgets around the world mean that the resources available for treatment and diagnosis varies tremendously, even within the one country. There are now often great limitations placed on what medications can be prescribed, what investigations can be ordered and even when and to whom patients can be referred.

    I know we all face increasing amounts of red tape, interminable waiting lists, changes in Worker’s Compensation Legislation and a thousand other minor (but very real!) frustrations every day and I think it’s incredibly important not to become complacent or cynical about these challenges.

    However, when I am asked about the experience that doctors from overseas can expect when they come to Australia, I am proud to say that they can look forward to a professional life that remains rewarding and stimulating, where there are few restrictions on what we prescribe, what investigations we order (within reason!) or how we choose to practice. I do believe we, as a profession within Australia, provide an excellent service to our patients.

    And all this in a country where the weather is the envy of the world (most of the time!), where there are good schools and universities, freedom of speech, cultural diversity and room to grow.

    Perhaps the best way to gain a true insight into the working life of GPs within Australia is to view a testimonial from GPs themselves. A few of these can be found at These videos provide a quick snapshot into the life of GPs working in Medical Practices throughout Australia, in the doctor’s own words. Of particular note are those of Dr Christopher Jones, who moved from the U.K., and Dr Marianne Botha, originally from South Africa. I believe that these doctors really do convey the essence of the transition, as a GP, from overseas to living and working in Australia.

    Dr Gerard Foley
    IPN Chief Medical Officer (General Practice)