Will Covid see more Aussie doctors return home from the UK?

Posted 19/3/2021 by Alasdair Spinner

As international medical recruiters we obviously know the reasons why some Aussie doctors return to their home country after a period of working in the UK. Some have "done their dash", many have finally sick of the weather or some want to return home to ageing parents. Will Covid play a part in many Aussies returning home when they wouldn't have normally?

Like my Dad in the 1960s, thousands of young Aussies travel to the UK as soon as they can. Many travel straight from medical school with a short term , long term or no plan. The reasons for Aussie doctors are often the same for any other young person straight out of uni: cultural ties or family etc. being prominent to spend time in the UK, known as "the old dart".

But many doctors  do travel to the UK to experience working and training in the NHS. Some return home after they have completed their specialist training in the NHS. If they've done this and want their specialist training assessed, they'll have to apply to their respective Australian medical colleges as "international medical graduates" alongside other consultants trained in the UK.

Some Aussie consultants trained in Australia travel the other way to the UK for various reasons and have settled there temporarily or permanently. Some hold very senior and prominent positions in the NHS. 

Due to Covid and Brexit, the UK remains politically and economically volatile. As the post-vaccine Covid era approaches will we see increased numbers of UK based Australian doctors - at any career level -  deciding to return to Australia because of their experiences in the UK health system during Covid? Or, given the stark variation to Covid deaths between the two countries are so stark, will there be more doctors returning because they've perceived how well the Australian system despite its federal complexity, managed the outbreak?


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