Young doctors flock to Christchurch

Posted 28 Feb 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Media
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Two British junior doctors are among hundreds taking up the challenge of working in post-earthquake Christchurch.

About 420 junior doctors are now employed by Canterbury District Health Board, with another wave of recruits joining in August, Chief Medical Officer Nigel Millar said.

The hospital had launched a recruitment campaign called, "Are you up for it?" following the February earthquake to provide a "balanced" view of what new recruits would be signing up for, he said.

"[The campaign] is honest about the challenges the city and the health system face, while at the same time presenting the positives," Millar said.

"We aim to make it clear that things have changed in Christchurch especially, but that we still do have a lot to offer.

"The campaign is needed because there has been a lot said about Christchurch post-earthquakes and the recovery process and perhaps too little about the opportunities it presents."

British junior doctors Richard and Wendy Clinghan, who worked during the February earthquake, said they had "no inclination to go back to the UK".

They did, however, go back to get married last year.

"We get looked after very well here," Richard said.

"There is better training. The work-life balance is better. The fact we can work together in the same hospital is brilliant.

"Professionally, the earthquake provided junior doctors with invaluable experience. The earthquake has not put us off."

Richard said the couple arrived in Christchurch four days before the September 4 earthquake.

"We were told a few days before that New Zealand gets earthquakes. With no basis of comparison, when the September earthquake hit, I said it must have been one of those earthquakes, rolled over and went back to sleep."

However, his reaction was different when the February earthquake hit. Clinghan was assisting at a seven-hour abdominal operation in Christchurch Hospital.

"It's not the sort of operation you can pack up and do another day. We had to stay and operate another four hours. It was pretty scary.

"The life-support machine stopped working. Drip stands fell over. We grabbed the patient to make sure he didn't fall off the bed. The lights went out. It was pretty nerve-racking. We didn't realise what was going on in the city. We just got dribs and drabs of information. It was utter chaos."


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