Say Hi to the Mandal Family
"I woke early I looked out at the view and thought, I will not get this anywhere else"
The decision to move to Bathurst has been personally and professionally rewarding for Jaydeep and Raji Mandal.
In 2014 the couple was living and working in the UK, with Jaydeep a practising medical physician at a 1,000 bed hospital in Manchester. They had relocated from India, and Jaydeep had been working for ten years in the UK’s National Health System (NHS) and was feeling disillusioned by it.
‘We could see that if we stayed in the UK, we would not have the work/life balance we wanted, and we wouldn’t be able to afford a comfortable home close to work for the family we planned to start,’ says Jaydeep. They started to look for work opportunities further afield.
‘We were planning to start our family and wanted to find somewhere that we could enjoy a good work/life balance, with good amenities, good schools, access to activities for us and our children,’ says Raji.
‘And we wanted to afford to save, to buy a house with a backyard for our children, if possible, to have some space,’ she adds.
Jaydeep and Raji provided their specialist employment agency with some of the desirables for their new location: – Jaydeep was keen to find a professionally rewarding placement that allowed him to spend valuable time with his family and they both wanted space, access to amenities and good education options and the support they might need when raising children away from their own extended families.
By early 2014 Jaydeep had several placement options to consider, with Singapore and Dubai at the top of the list.
‘To be honest, we thought Singapore was perfect for us,’ says Jaydeep.
‘The income offer was substantially higher than the other options, the city had great amenities, it was clean and we could have support at home.’
‘The agency contact asked us to ask if we had ever considered Australia, and we hadn’t but we were happy to do so before making our final decision.
‘When we said yes to being open to considering Australia, we had options to choose from places like Grafton, Armidale, Bathurst and Hervey Bay, and we thought the beach would be fantastic,’ laughs Jaydeep.
‘We had a lot to consider, especially coming from a metropolis and working in a large hospital. It took us quite a long time, almost three to four months, to come to terms with if there was an opportunity, why would we move to Bathurst.’
‘The schools, the university, the proximity to Sydney all led us to say yes to considering Bathurst. But with ageing parents, Singapore ticked all the boxes. It was a short flight for family to visit, it was a safe town and we had many friends there.’
‘So I said to them, I’m just going to sign on the dotted line once I have visited Bathurst, but we were 99.9% decided on moving to Singapore.’
‘We actually did a lot of research on Bathurst,’ says Raji.
‘We came here about in early 2014, about a year before we moved and we drove around Bathurst and Orange, comparing each and everything, facilities, shopping, the lifestyle and even Indian food,’ says Jaydeep.
‘When I came over here on that visit, I was shown around by then Director of Medicine at Bathurst Hospital, who were incredibly hospitable. They arranged for us to stay Rydges on Mount Panorama and when I woke early I looked out at the view and thought, I will not get this anywhere else.’
‘Professionally, there is a lot more responsibility on general medicine practitioners here in Bathurst and it stimulates your clinical acumen and it is quite challenging,’ notes Jaydeep.
‘The way I look at it, you can be in a small place and make a big difference; or you can be in a big place, where you can still make a difference but in the context and perspective, the difference is very small.’
‘Here people come to me for advice and people trust my opinion. They say, ‘we trust you and we like the way you practice’ and that’s a big thing for a clinician who has come all the way across the Atlantic.
Raji has also enjoyed living in Bathurst, raising children and helping to run their busy practice, which was another challenge they undertook when moving to Bathurst.
On arriving in Bathurst, Jaydeep was a permanent staff specialist at the hospital, with a guaranteed salary and guaranteed placement.
‘I thought, I’m still young so I’ll give my own practice a go. I moved to being a visiting medical officer (VMO), and we started our own business, and I get paid for the days I work. I’ve been doing this for 5 years now.’
‘I am the practice manager,’ confirms Raji.
‘At first we didn’t know how long it would take to build our own practice, but we now have a decent waiting list.’
’I have very good colleagues who trust me enough to refer patients to me, and I have good will and enjoy a good relationship with them,’ adds Jaydeep.
The couple agrees that it is easier to start a business in a smaller town, with less overheads and there is no shortage of work opportunities.
‘One of my colleagues came as a respiratory medicine physician, and she is flat out, with so much work.’
Jaydeep and Raji found a home with plenty of backyard space and enjoy their work/life balance and their lifestyle.
‘We have everything here: Art, sport, education, activities for us and our children, and all the schools have a very good reputation,’ says Jaydeep.
The most important benefit for them however has been time and the opportunity it gives them to individually nurture their two girls, Anahita, six years old and Ayantika, three years old.
‘If I was in Sydney I would spend 2 hours travelling for work. Living here, I get to spend those two hours with our children and it is the happiest time and nothing compares to that,’ Jaydeep notes.