On feeling valued

I’ve been working in Melbourne for almost three years and I’ve recently starting looking into changing my job after moving house. As a female (and currently pregnant) GP, the response has been upliftingly positive and I feel very much in demand.

When I qualified as a GP in the UK in 2010 and first came out of my VTS training scheme, I found looking for a job quite a disheartening process. In comparison to the men from my scheme, I did not feel as valued when looking for jobs because of my potential uterus timebomb. There were a couple of surgeries that I really liked, but one of the managers spelled it out to me that his surgery loses so much money from female GPs getting pregnant, and subsequently wanting part-time hours, that he didn’t feel they could afford to employ another female GP. I didn’t feel that partnership offers fell as easily into my lap, as they did the men’s, although I appreciate that in today’s difficult UK GP job climate, it’s probably a very different story.

In Australia however, it is the opposite. The ratio of female to male GPs is less, and you are very sought after as a female GP. In fact, some of the surgeries that I have been to have talked about their difficulty in retaining female GPs, “Well why would she travel half an hour across town to work for us when she could have any job she likes in the city on her doorstep?!”

Even when I’ve thrown in the bombshell that I am currently pregnant and will need flexible, part-time hours, that still has not deterred anyone, and they are happy to take me on whenever I am ready.

It also goes very much in your favour being a British-trained GP. It is often commented on how well trained and good the British doctors are, and I have had many patients who comment how happy they are to have a British doctor look after them.

So it’s been a refreshingly, pleasant experience looking for a job and I feel very wanted.

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