Am I eligible for medical registration in Australia?

Medical degrees of some countries may need to be verified first through a service like EICS. As an international medical graduate,limited medical registration will need to be approved by the Medical Board of Australia(AHPRA). As the job entails a high level of responsibility, fluency in written and verbal English is a prerequisite.

Will there be any cosmetic exposure?

Experience here will be limited as public hospitals in Western Australia are not permitted to perform cosmetic surgery unless they are medically indicated such as in severe dermatochalasis, symptomatic macromastia, or facelifts/browlifts for facial nerve palsy. Having said that, it is not unusual for one of the staff consultants to ask for you to assist them in cosmetic cases elsewhere in a private hospital.

What types of flap/major surgery will I see and do?

At SCGH, we have a good collaborative relationship with the dermatologists, breast oncoplastic surgeons and the ENT surgeons. The majority of free flap reconstructions are performed by the Plastic Surgeons in this hospital.

The workhorse free flaps typically used here are Gracilis muscle, Latissimus Dorsi, ALT, Radial forearm, Rectus, DIEP and TRAM flaps. Other flaps that have been done here are DCIA, SGAP, SIEA, SCIP, PAP, free helical rim, Lateral Arm, Fibula, scapula/parascapular, helical root, superficial branch of radial artery and temporo-parietal fascial flaps. We have also begun to offer free lymph node transfers for lymphoedema.

You will see the whole gamut of local flaps for skin, head and neck cancers such as keystone, bilobed, rhomboid, rotation, VY, forehead, cheek, Tripier, reverse sural artery, Pectoralis Major, Submental Artery, TDAP, Trapezial, Deltopectoral, Abbe, Karapandzic, and McGregor flaps.

You will also have the opportunity to undertake groin, axillary and neck dissections as well as parotidectomies. With trauma surgery, you will be expected to be able to treat and fixate acute craniofacial, maxillary, mandibular and orbital fractures, as well as perform revascularisations or replantation of ischaemic fingers and limbs. We treat both soft and bony injuries of the hand so proficiency in both areas are essential.

What is my level of supervision?

During working hours, there will be at least one consultant on site on all days. After hours supervision is on a case by case basis. For a vast majority of the time, you will be the primary surgeon.

What are the term dates?

Terms generally start late Jan/early Feb and late July/Early Aug. These starting dates are inflexible  due to rostering and contractual complexities.

What is the educational schedule?

Perth is recognised as having one of the most intensive registrar educational programs in the country. All these sessions are entirely optional and really only necessary for those who are yet to sit their exit exams.

First Tuesday evening every month – Journal club with dinner at one of Perth’s finer restaurants.

Every Thursday 0700-0800- Anatomy tutorials with breakfast at a cafe in Kings Park

Every Saturday morning 0800-1100 – Clinical teaching round and viva examination practice at Royal Perth Hospital

What is the dress code at work?

White lab coats are not required. For the men, shirt and pants are adequate and wearing a tie is optional, except on Mondays for the grand round and clinics. For the ladies, smart casual. 

Can I apply to do the fellowship for 12 months instead of 6?

Some of the fellows have done a 12 month PIPRS fellowship in the past but this is usually due to exceptional circumstances such as the subsequent fellow pulling out of the job. Do let us know if this is your preference and we will try to accommodate where possible.

How do I apply for registration/visa?

The application process will be initiated by Medical Employment services at the hospital. Once your application has been successful, please initiate contact with Employment Services at least 6 months prior to your job commencing. They will provide you with instructions for the steps you need to take, but to ensure a smooth start, here are some helpful hints provided by previous fellows:

  1. scan all documents and email them prior to mailing them to both the immigration officer as well as to medical employment and the Medical Board(AHPRA) to check for completeness. You will not be able to work until all the paperwork is complete and you have registration with the Medical Board of Australia. You are strongly encouraged to contact AHPRA prior to your arrival here to ensure that your medical registration has been approved.
  2. You may be required to sit the English exam(IELTS). If so, please ensure that you sit the test early (6months prior to job commencement) as quite a number of the applicants have had to resit at least once if not twice. A score of 7 and above is required for each component of the exam. Do not assume that passing this test is easy especially if English is not your first language.
  3. A 482 visa  is required before you can work in Australia. The 457 visa is no longer available.
  4. You’ll also need a health clearance from immigration.

Do I require Medicolegal Imdemnity Insurance?

Although you will be indemnified by the hospital, you will be required to take a third party medico-legal insurance policy which should cost less than AUD$200 for a six month contract. This will then allow you to assist in operations in hospitals elsewhere in Perth.

The recommended providers are:

MDA National


Will I require Health Insurance?

Only certain countries have reciprocal agreements to access the free public health system in Australia. For all others, we would recommend that you take out travel insurance for yourself and your family during your time here. It is best to obtain this in your own country prior to arriving here. Alternatively, you can choose just to have the travel insurance for a short period to cover for your travel here and then get coverage from a local insurer such as HBF for the rest of the time.

Can I speak to previous fellows about their experience?

Please contact Dr Lip Teh for contact details of the previous PIPRS fellows. Applicants from the Netherlands/Belgium may wish to check out this website by a Dutch anaesthetic fellow who worked at Royal Perth Hospital.

Where should I stay?

To get the most out of the Perth lifestyle, strongly consider staying in these areas:

  1. Cottesloe (on or near Marine Parade) – close proximity to Perth’s most popular beach
  2. Subiaco – dense urban area, compact housing blocks, close proximity to railway, cafes, shopping, the city and to the hospital
  3. Claremont – urban living, close to cafes, shopping, the Swan river and the beach.
  4. Nedlands – quiet suburban area, large housing blocks, close to the hospital, Swan river and the city.

Browse the leasing agents to find something that suits you. Book early as it is difficult to find rentals in Perth. Fully furnished apartments are ideal. Perth is not a cheap city to live in but your salary should more than cover these costs.

Websites you should browse include:

  1. realestate.com.au
  2. reiwa.com.au
  3. Acton
  4. Mack Hall

A very useful website for buying and selling used furniture, homewares etc in Perth is perth.gumtree.com.au

Transport about Perth

Perth is a sprawling city. As a result, public transport is not as efficient or cost effective as it is in other major cities. During your fellowship here, it is recommended that you have access to a car. The oncall rota does not require you to be onsite at the hospital after hours. It is not recommended that you take public transport to cover the oncall. An alternative is to travel by bicycle as the metropolitan area is fairly flat although Perth drivers are renown for their lack of courtesy on the roads.

The state of Western Australia is approximately 5 times larger than France. Getting to see some of the sights in the state often involves hours of travel. You’ve come nearly to the end of the earth. Get a car and go a bit further.

Online car advertisements can be found here:

  1. carsales.com.au
  2. autoweb.com.au
  3. quokka.com.au

 If you plan to travel around the state, we would recommend that you consider a 4 wheel drive vehicle which will allow you access to some of the more remote but beautiful areas in the state.

What about my children?

Perth is an ideal city for kids. The weather is friendly almost year round and there are a multitude of family oriented activities at close proximity. Admission to a local public school is usually not an issue once you have got your accommodation worked out. Since 2015, there is a fee for visa holders to send their kids to local schools.