Australia is now deploying ‘cheeky’ ads to poach high-profile NHS medics straight off the picket line.
Mobile billboards were posted outside St George’s Hospital in London displaying enticing images of crystal clear waters and breathtaking bush walks.
The recruitment blitz, paid for by the South Australian government, praised how British medics down under could achieve a better work-life balance. It also offers one-off cash payments of up to £8,000 to help medics move.
‘Bring your health career to South Australia and experience work-life balance at its best. We can help with moving costs,” the ad read.
The advertising campaign, MailOnline can reveal, was requested by British doctors who had already taken the step.
The South Australian Government ad campaign visiting British Medical Association picket lines at St George’s Hospital in London yesterday
The adverts featured 50/50 images of medics balancing work with stunning photos of the Australian lifestyle that read ‘discover work-life balance at its best’ and offering financial assistance to relocate
South Australia is also running a targeted social media campaign, looking for UK medics complaining about paying online and posting this glossy ad featuring images of both surfing and working, alongside an offer of up to £8,000 to help with moving costs
Dozens of striking junior doctors from the British Medical Association (BMA), which yesterday held the first day of a new 72-hour strike over pay, are said to have seen the ad.
It featured 50/50 images of medics enjoying the Australian lifestyle and working in a hospital with the captions ‘For Work’. For lifestyle’.
A link and QR code on the billboard takes you to a South Australian Government health staff recruitment page where interested medics submit their details to apply.
However, MailOnline can also reveal today that the South Australian government is scouring the social media profiles of British junior doctors for medics complaining about NHS salaries.
They respond with a video ad featuring starry skies, surfing and wine tasting interspersed with images of medics at work in a hospital.
Doctors in training in the UK are currently embarking on a three-day strike in a long-running dispute with the government over wages
South Australia’s Health Minister Chris Picton admitted that both advertising campaigns were their own on Australian Broadcast Corporation radio in Adelaide.
“Not only are we responding to tweets, but we’ve had some trucks with electronic billboards drive outside their protests and their picket lines outside hospitals overnight,” he said.
Mr Picton also revealed that the inspiration behind the ‘cheeky’ adverts actually came from British medics who had already moved to Australia.
“A few weeks ago, some of our junior doctors who work in SA Health came to see me,” he said.
“(They) really enjoy working here and want more people from the UK to make the journey here and suggested we step up our game in terms of these more brutal tactics.”
Yesterday was just the first of a three-day strike by junior doctors from the BMA, the latest in a long-running dispute with ministers over pay.
More than half a million NHS appointments in England have been canceled since December due to healthcare strikes, official figures show
Health officials have warned an additional 200,000 appointments and surgeries could be canceled because of the latest strike, on top of the 500,000 already lost to similar industrial action since December.
Young doctors are taking to the picket lines to chase a 35 per cent pay rise, which they say is necessary to deal with years of below-inflation wage increases and prevent NHS medics from bleeding to places like Australia.
Despite the protracted dispute, there is little sign of an impending compromise: the latest BMA survey found nearly half (53 per cent) of the nearly 2,000 participants suggested they were thinking of leaving the NHS as a result of the government’s response on trade union actions.
Clearly, BMA negotiators have proposed a multi-year settlement that would have given doctors below the rank of consultant a 49 percent boost between 2021 and 2024 in the latest failed round of negotiations with the government.
The South Australian Government has been contacted for comment.