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Locum experiences

Lets hear from the doctors that have traveled to Gisborne to work for Three Rivers Medical.

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Dr Tom Isbister

Dr Tom Isbister

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Three Rivers and feel privileged to have been able to work in a forward-thinking, well-organised GP practice such as this. For me, the draw of coming to New Zealand was to experience both a different style of primary care and a different culture. I have not been disappointed on either count.

As for the area, what’s not to love about Gisborne? With beautiful long sandy beaches, rolling hills and a multitude of vineyards, it’s the perfect place to come to escape the hustle and bustle of inner city life.

I'll return to my job back in the UK with a broader understanding of the importance of primary care and how it can impact peoples lives, as well as a wealth of happy memories from my time in the sunny East Coast."

Dr Nicky Blackwell

Dr Nicky Blackwell spent five months at Three Rivers Medical as part of her GP training with Wessex School, England.  She started work in September and enjoyed the fantastic weather that Gisborne has to offer and an eclectic mixture of experiences including the Food and Wine Festival, the Seafood Festival, reggae festival, and the International Music Competition. She learnt to surf, played tennis, and took walks along all the beautiful beaches. She even got to try a paua pie!

Nicky really enjoyed being able to do a mixture of clinic work alongside minor operations and some acute minor injuries work. She found the differences in disease presentation interesting. "Kiwis tend to present later than UK patients and with more severe disease presentations."

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"My time in Gisborne was made to be so special because of the excellent team at Three Rivers. From day one I was made to feel welcome and part of the family. I loved coming to work and that was because everyone was happy to be there. The team works well together, the systems are in place so that things run smoothly, and I felt totally looked after at work.”

Dr Tony Moyle

Originally from Mount Maunganui, Tony Moyle studied medicine at Auckland University Medical School. He practiced medicine in Ireland, where he completed a diploma in tropical medicine, and also worked in Australia and Zambia,

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He visited Gisborne to catch up with friends who had moved here, liked the lifestyle they had, and made the move himself in early 2011.

“You become very time rich living here because you’re not stuck in traffic. I love the surf and the seafood. We live at the beach, and I use my kayak to drop crayfish pots on a reef offshore from our house. I do a lot of cooking. I enjoy the local wines and also do some work for Palliative Care. I also play football, cricket and a bit of golf.”

Dr Moyle enjoys working with the Three Rivers Medical team and the patients they treat. 

“It’s good, it’s pretty colourful, very busy but it’s a good friendly environment, friendly staff.”

Dr Anthony Chalmers

Dr Anthony Chalmers was at Three Rivers for six months – as part of his GP training with Wessex School of General Practice in England. Dr Chalmers enjoyed the experience.

“With the mix of Māori and non-Māori we have had a completely different experience around healthcare provision. It’s the people of Gisborne that have made it for me”.

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“It was not much different to home!”

GP Fiona Price

GP Fiona Price was at Three Rivers for six months – an experience she built into her GP training with Wessex School of General Practice in Hampshire, England.  

Doctors with five years of study and two years general work experience then do three years general practice study to become a qualified GP. Wessex students can complete some of their general practice training in Gisborne.  

Dr Price admits ‘sunny Gisborne’ took a while to reveal itself. When she arrived late August 2014 it rained and rained.

Luckily the good weather kicked in and the keen kite surfer was able to enjoy the best Gisborne had to offer over summer, as well as get a taste of general practice in New Zealand.

Dr Price said one of the biggest differences to working in England was seeing patients with minor injuries. Anyone with a minor injury resulting from an accident in England is seen at hospital accident and emergency departments rather than at the general practice.

Dr Kawita Schur

Kawita studied medicine in Sheffield England, and graduated in 2002. After a year in the UK she headed to New Zealand for two years, combining medicine with a keen interest in surfing.

She returned to the UK for four years and completed her training in Devon, including a Diploma in Tropical Medicine, and in late 2010 she headed for Madagascar to do voluntary work for an organisation dedicated to saving the marine environment.

Dr Kawita Schur

“They had realised the biggest threat to the marine ecosystems was the population,  which was doubling every 15 years. I was mostly providing sexual health and family planning services, as well as immunization and helping with water supplies and sanitation.”

In October 2011 she and husband Andrew decided to return to New Zealand to live by the sea, and she joined the general practice team.

“The working environment here at Three Rivers is brilliant. I don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere like it. I think that that has a lot to do with the positive attitudes of the nursing, administrative and medical staff who work here. In addition, Gisborne is a great place to live with the ocean on our doorstep and plenty of wild country nearby.”

It is also different sort of general practice than in the UK, she says. “There is lots more pathology – a lot of people are really ill when they finally come to the doctor.

Dr Andrew Sharp

Andrew graduated from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London in 2002 and worked in Dunedin New Zealand and New South Wales. He returned to the UK to finish his GP training, then worked on a cruise ship and did voluntary work in Madagascar before coming to Gisborne in November 2011.

“The team here makes a difference. Also, the typical general practice here is different to the UK, which makes it interesting – there are some things which are unique about this environment, like epidemics of fully immunizable diseases like whooping cough and measles.”


Dr Andrew Sharp

Life in Gisborne has been agreeable, with plenty of tennis and surfing, says Andrew. “I also enjoy the people. Gisborne is quite a unique place because of the isolation and the 50:50 mix of Maori and non-Maori. Also things like the beaches and the epic wilderness on the back doorstep. It’s a very friendly, laid-back pleasant place.”