From Sri Lanka to Townsville: Meet Dr Bhathiya Saranga
When his wife’s PhD studies meant moving to Queensland from Sri Lanka, Dr Bhathiya accepted that he might have limited employment options in Australia.
Having trained and practiced in Sri Lanka, Bhathiya knew his qualifications might not be instantly transferrable to the Australian medical landscape, and was prepared to put in the work required to practice medicine in Australia.
After undertaking both Australian Medical Council MCQ exams, Dr Bhathiya was eligible for Limited Registration via the standard pathway, pending his Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI) exam. He assumed his best option would be to start applying for jobs in local Queensland hospitals, but found the hospitals were slow moving in responding to his applications.
An initial conversation with Darren from DXC Medical in August 2022 after connecting on LinkedIn, meant Bhathiya realised he could actually pursue a GP position locally with the right coaching and support.
“Darren was really supportive in talking through the options available to me, and said I could be eligible to go directly into GP work, rather than taking on a hospital role. He connected me with a medical practice in Townsville, and we started working on the steps for me to secure a position there,” says Dr Bhathiya.
On the recommendation of DXC Medical, Bhathiya prepared for his PESCI with the Institute of Medical Education (IME), leading to him being successful in passing his PESCI at Level 2, and then successfully applying for Limited Level 2 registration with AHPRA.
“I’d heard the PESCI exam was really hard and has a really low pass rate, so having the expert preparation and coaching via IME helped me to pass with confidence,” says Bhathiya.
“At every step of the process Shayla and Darren from DXC Medical have helped me understand exactly what’s required. I’ve had long discussions with Darren, and he’s been generous with his time and answered all of my questions. It’s made the whole process so much easier.”
In late February this year, Dr Bhathiya secured his Medicare number and commenced his position with the Healthlink Family Medical Centre in Townsville.
“Kevin from the practice has been really welcoming and has given me great advice in the lead-up to starting my role here, and everyone here is friendly and approachable. Townsville is a hot place, but that suits me being from Sri Lanka. It’s a small city but it has great amenities like shopping and restaurants. I’m excited about building our lives here and getting to know the patients and local community,” says Dr Bhathiya.
DXC Medical will now support Dr Bhathiya with his application for RACGP’s Fellowship Support Program (FSP) during the next round of applications.
Supporting doctors like Dr Bhathiya to find GP roles in regional and rural locations is part of DXC Medical’s commitment to improving health outcomes throughout Australia.
We wish Dr Bhathiya Saranga all the best in his new life in Townsville.
Find out more about DXC Medical’s GP relocation services.