Letter: Doctors look abroad for a cure to their complaints

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your editorial 'A haemorrhage of disillusioned doctors' (31 August) comments that better pay, weather and morale are attracting British doctors to Australia and New Zealand.

I have recently returned to a consultant post in New Zealand after many years in the NHS in the UK. My salary in New Zealand is only 72 per cent of the equivalent in the NHS; mean summer temperature in Wellington, the capital, is lower than that in London and the rainfall considerably higher; health service 'reforms' in New Zealand have been more radical and rapid and, some would say, more extreme than those in the UK. Morale in many hospitals, general practices and academic departments is low.

While the uncrowded outdoors does offer compensations, it would be prudent for those considering fleeing Virginia Bottomley's ministrations to check out the medicine being offered by her opposite number in New Zealand, Jenny Shipley.

Yours sincerely,

PENNY FITZHARRIS

Department of Medicine

Wellington School of Medicine

Wellington South

New Zealand

31 August

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