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UK Junior Doctors - Australia explained

  • 28 Jan 2021

If you are looking for a sea change, or maybe even a tree change, then Australia could be the answer. Australia is one of the most popular options for doctors moving abroad. Mostly known for good weather and large spiders, Australia can also offer a great outdoor lifestyle and opportunities for remote and rural training.

As a Junior Doctor you can choose to work in either a public hospital or a private hospital. Medicare, the Australian government funded health care provider, offers free medical assistance for Australian citizens (and those citizens of countries with reciprocal agreements) through Public Hospitals throughout Australia.

You can locum in Australia but only once you have achieved general registration (worked for a year under supervision). Upon completion of your UK FY2, you will be eligible to apply for both RMO/SHO posts and registrar/PHO jobs in Australia.

Years after graduation  UK Australia General terms
1 FY1


Resident Medical Officer (RMO)

Junior Medical Officer (JMO)


Resident Medical Officer (RMO)

Junior Medical Officer (JMO)

Senior House Officer (SHO)

3/4/5 CT1 - 3 SHO

Principal House Officer (PHO)

Junior Registrar

4/5-7 ST4 + Registrar Senior Registrar   
7+  Consultant GP Senior Medical Officer SMO 

Applying for the right level

In summary, Resident Medical Officers are similar to FY2 posts in the UK. If you’re lacking a skill in a particular area, these roles can be used to gain experience in specialties you haven’t done during F1/2. RMO/SHO posts are advertised as both rotational posts and as stand-alone posts in one department depending on your preference.

Registrar or Principal House Officer posts are equivalent to core-training jobs in the UK. If you are stepping up from F2 and are looking to start specialising, these jobs are the ones to go for.

These roles have more responsibility and generally less support, depending on the Hospital/Service. You will also be remunerated better than a RMO but will usually require some experience in the specialty before applying. In you are happy to work in rural and regional areas you will get great experience in advising and supervising Juniors as in most departments, particularly in medicine and ED, the registrar will likely be the most senior doctor in the hospital overnight.

Remuneration guide for Junior doctors

All doctors in Australia are paid every 2 weeks. The pay is generally much better than UK pay for the equivalent grade, particularly when you add in salary-packaging

Junior doctor’s salary varies. Doctors are paid a salary with ‘shift penalties’ for out of hours shifts. Shift penalties are supplements paid to the doctor meaning that your pay can vary quite substantially depending on how many on-calls you do. 

Average base doctor salaries in Australia

Resident / House Officer               AU$60,000 - $80,000

Registrar                                              AU$65,000 - $100,000

On top of your salary, most hospitals offer the following:

Annual Leave – up to 5 weeks paid leave per year, 11 days of professional development leave (PDL) and 9 days of exam leave per year. In addition to this, each territory in Australia has additional ‘state’ bank holidays which you will either get off or can take in lieu. 

Superannuation – this is a government requirement, and it is paid in addition to your salary. Doctors returning to their own countries can apply for their superannuation contributions to be released when they leave Australia – it is on the back of the customs form.

Tax benefits -Doctors in all States can salary sacrifice a portion of their pay, which minimises your tax. Depending on the hospital, up to 30% of your income can be tax-free. Your best to take financial advice via an accountant.

Meals and Accommodation – these may be provided free or subsidised.

Australia has strict rules on working hours and you are entitled to double pay for any hours worked over 40 hours per week. In addition to this, you are entitled to at least 4 days off in every 14-day period, 2 of which must be consecutive. 

If you are still keen to explore what Australia has to offer why not contact us for an informal chat about your options or register online.