We interview Jann who is currently completing an Abdominal Imaging and Interventional Radiology Fellowship in Australia…
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO SEEK WORK IN AUSTRALIA?
I am applying for a consultant post is GI Radiology in a UK tertiary centre and to be shortlisted, a fellowship is essential. A UK fellowship is more than adequate but I have found that registrars who have completed an overseas fellowship come back with a fresh perspective. UK Radiologists, if they go overseas, tend to go to Canada or Australia (no additional exams required as a registrar, but are required if you choose to stay as a consultant).
I chose undertake a radiology fellowship in Australia for personal and financial reasons such as taking into account my partner’s employment situation and my mortgage commitments.
HOW DID YOU FARE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL COUNCIL REGISTRATION AND VISA PROCESS?
It was a tedious process that took me 2 years to complete and I spent approximately £1500-2000 in total. The HR department in my hospital and the medical council liaison guided me through the process and they really helped make it easier. My advice would be to apply early, at least 2 years in advance and have all your paperwork ready in the format that they want. It then means you have it all ready to send when necessary.
There are a lot of steps in the process that are dependent on each other before you can progress. You can do it all 8 months prior but then it is quite stressful when things don’t go right and they fail to get the registration/visa in time to start work.
IS THE SPREAD OF PATHOLOGY AND DISEASES IN OZ SIMILAR TO THE UK? WHAT TYPICAL CASES DO YOU SEE?
The spread of pathology and diseases are surprisingly different. For example, there is no TB (I previously worked in Whitechapel!). There are more sun related cancers and road traffic accidents (Perth has a greater car dependence than London). The operations are also slightly different and they have different complications, therefore I had to familiarise myself with their procedures.
The way of practice in my hospital slightly differs. For example, they utilise US contrast imaging more regularly than at the centre that I trained at in London. They also perform more intraoperative ultrasound prior to liver resections and they prefer transperineal prostate biopsies to the commonly used transrectal approach.
ARE THERE ANY DIFFERENCES IN THE PRACTICE OF RADIOLOGY IN OZ COMPARED TO THE UK?
Most of Australia runs a part private / government health care system and patients commonly straddle both. They cover an extensive area and they have a very stable PACS system that can link almost all hospitals. They have set dedicated areas for all subspecialities rather than common workstation rooms. There is ownerships of all lists and assigned consultants for all sessions. All work has to be assigned to the named consultant and all work checked by a consultant before being signed off. Lists are normally cleared at the end of the day.
For radiography, the Australians do more views than the UK as standard practice. In ultrasound, an ultrasonography list can be covered by a single radiologist working with 5-6 sonographers who perform all the scanning. The radiologist then reports the images following a discussion with the sonographers. The radiologists perform more focused ultrasound scans when sonographers need clarification (very rare) and radiologists do all the US guided procedures. Unlike in the UK, there are no reporting radiographers or sonographers.
TELL US ABOUT THE EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES YOU ARE INVOLVED IN?
I play the violin and piano and am a member of an orchestra which I attend weekly on Wednesdays. Furthermore, I am also enrolled in the Perth School of Ballet and do ballet and tap on Thursdays and Tuesdays. I am learning French and have a class every Friday. I am normally a long distance cyclist but have taken a break to train for the marathon in June. At the weekend I go surfing, and I also read and play chess. I would do more but I don’t have enough time!
For more on working in Australia, check out our Overseas section.