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General Practice in New Zealand

I can't claim that New Zealand had always fascinated me. Growing up in the UK in the 1970's, New Zealand Lamb was my only association with the place. It seemed like a far away land of sheep farmers.

It took the realisation of the drudgery expected of me in the NHS during my House jobs for me to suddenly develop an appetite to travel to the other side of the world. And what riches awaited. Getting off the plane I had a sudden sense of belonging, which has never left me, even now 10 years later.

The warmth and acceptance of the people, the stunning scenery which inspired my interest in photography, the ease of travelling and space with no traffic jams or queues all amazed me. Then I discovered the cafe cultures and eateries, the beaches and the tramping-New Zealand has 7 Great Walks which I am slowly ticking off my list. The abundance of wild life-the birds, the bush and trees. And I was lucky enough to land in Wellington where I have remained. Wellington is a fascinating city to live in. I am never bored here-there's so much to enjoy and do- culture- walks-food-sports-and amazing views everywhere you look. I find it uplifting. It has also been a wonderful place to raise our family.

And just a short drive north brings us to ski fields and a volcanic area with hot pools and stunning scenery. Far north we have the wilderness of endless white beaches and South Island across the Cook Straits is easily reached in 3 hours on the ferry.

And what of General Practice here? So much better, my friends. I see 13 patients a session, with breaks in between. Time to breathe and reflect. We have 15 minute appointments, with flexibility to book longer if needed.Patients partially fund their GP visit, and I feel this enables them to take a lot more ownership of their health than I encountered working in the UK. Work-life balance is important to Kiwi's-who often have a Bach(holiday home) to escape to at the weekends. Recreational fitness is part of life here and Health is celebrated.

I feel lucky and privileged to be here in New Zealand. Working as a GP is rewarding and fun, and despite ending my 40's soon, I'm feeling energised and looking forwards to the next decade of my working life.

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