Want to know more about working as a GP in Australia?

Australia offers so much for anyone thinking of making the move – residents enjoy a high quality of life, a superb education and health system, a stable economic and political environment, clean and safe surroundings along with a fantastic climate allowing for that enviable outdoor lifestyle.
Australia is one of the world’s oldest land masses and is both a country and a continent.  It is the largest inhabited island and the sixth largest country in the world. Distances are vast and visitors are often surprised at the size of the country and how long it takes to travel from city to city. Australia stretches about 4000 kilometres from east to west and 3700 kilometres from north to south and it is a 5 hours flight from Sydney to Perth. In total area, Australia is about the same size as the United States (not including Alaska), more than double the size of India and 32 times the size of the United Kingdom.
People
Australia is unique and vastly contrasting.  Much of the country is made up of remote inland, known as the outback, however the majority of the nation’s population live in and around the cities close to the coast. Indigenous Australians have lived on the continent for more than 50,000 years. There were over 500 different groups around the continent with distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages. The first British colonisers arrived in 1788 and currently 37% of the population claim English descent. Australia has an ethnically diverse population with 1 in 4 born outside of Australia.
Climate
Due to the size of the continent, Australia has several different climate zones. The country experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the weather can vary greatly dependant on the location. The northern states have a more tropical influenced climate, hot and humid in the summer, and quite warm and dry in the winter, while the southern parts are cooler with hot summers and cooler, sometimes rainy winters.
Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
Work and GP Salary
To comply with temporary visa regulations, you are required to work a minimum of 35 hours per week.  Most GPs work 35 – 40 hours over 8 – 10 sessions.
GPs in Australia, rather than receiving a fixed income get paid a percentage of billings.  Most practices offer a range between 60 – 70% of the billings you generate for the practice.  Your income will therefore depend on not only the number of patients you will see but also by the complexity of the consultations.  Once you are established and have built up a patient base working full time you can expect to earn $250 – $300k+ AUD per annum.
Tax Rate Australia
The following rates are for 2017 – 2018
Taxable Income
0 – $18,200 Nil
$18,201 – $37,000 – 19c for each $1 over $18,200
$37,001 – $80,000 – $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000
$87,001 – $180,000 – $19,822 plus 37c for each $1 over $87,000
$180,001 and over – $54,232 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
There is also a medicare levy which is 2% of your taxable income.  For more information including a tax calculator see the Australian Taxation Office
District of Workforce Shortage
All overseas trained GPs coming to work in Australia are required to work in a District of Workforce Shortage area known as DWS.  This is an area which has been identified as having below average access to doctors.  This is determined using population data and medicare billing information to get a reflection of GP to population ratio.  In order to be eligible for a medicare provider number, overseas trained GPs are required to work in these areas for 10 years from the date of first registration.
What this means in practice is an overseas trained doctor isn’t able to work in the larger city centres but usually still able to work in the suburbs of the state capitals or smaller towns and cities.  It doesn’t mean you have to work in a ‘remote’ location.
Registration Process
You should allow approximately 6 months to complete the registration and immigration process.  It is ideal to get in touch 8 months prior to you wishing to start work in Australia to allow us time to find you the right role and to complete the appropriate paperwork.
We will assist you through the registration pathway in order to gain eligibility as a GP.  You will be assessed via the Specialist Pathway by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
The Specialist pathway has two main classifications and your qualifications will determine which pathway applies as below:
Category 1
MRCGP (exam) with PMETB
MRCGP (exam) with JCPTGP
MRCGP (exam) with CCT
Category 2
JCPTGP via prescribed experience
PMETB
MRCGP via IMAP
Please get in touch for more information on your specific qualifications and experience. We will complete the paperwork for you and guide you through each step
Healthcare System
The Australian Government provides help with medical expenses and hospital care through a scheme called Medicare. The government also subsidises the cost of most medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Medicare provides universal access to free public hospital care and assistance with doctors’ fees.
Medicare ensures that all Australians have access to free or low-cost medical, optometrical and hospital care while being free to choose private health services. Medicare provides access to free treatment as a patient in a public hospital and free or subsided treatment in a GP practice
The Australian Federal Government set the national health policies and subsidise the services which are provided by State and Territory governments. Improving the health of Australia’s indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is a priority, committed to closing the gap between the health and life expectancy of indigenous and non indigenous people in Australia.
Medicare
As a patient, on a temporary visa you are entitled to a medicare card to allow you to access these services if you have a passport from one of the following countries; United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy.
As a GP you are required to apply for a Medicare Provider and Prescriber number to be able to practice. Please be aware that this application is completed once you have arrived in Australia and can take up to 28 days to be processed.  You are not able to start seeing patients until this process has been completed.
Cost of Living
Your living costs in Australia will vary dependant on the location you choose to live in and the lifestyle you have.   You may find Australia is more expensive for some things and cheaper for others.  On a GP salary you should be able to lead a very comfortable lifestyle.  For an indication of up to date cost please see the cost of living calculations here
Education
School education (primary and secondary) is compulsory between the ages of six and sixteen (Year 1 to Year 9 or 10). School education is 13 years and divided into:
Primary school – Runs for seven or eight years, starting at Kindergarten/Prep through to Year 6 or 7.
Secondary school – Runs for three or four years, from Years 7 to 10 or 8 to 10.
Senior secondary school – Runs for two years, Years 11 and 12.
Housing
There is a huge range of housing available in Australia from city centre apartments to sprawling houses with pools in the suburbs.  On the whole, people tend to rent initially when they move to Australia and once settled decide to buy a property.  This is done via real estate agents who will be able to assist you when you’re on the ground. For more information see Realestate.com and Domain.com
Useful Links
Registration and Immigration