The Straits Times says

Clear steps to tackle nursing shortage

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The announcement that Singapore expects to employ almost 4,000 new nurses by end-2023 will come as a relief to the public and those in the healthcare profession. The shortage of nurses has been on the Government’s radar for some time now. The double whammy of resignations and the slowdown in foreign nurse recruitment during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to a situation that could have become dire if not handled urgently. The proportion of nurses in public hospitals who resigned reached a five-year high in 2021, with 7.4 per cent of local nurses leaving their jobs. The increase was greater for foreign nurses in the public sector – 14.8 per cent of them left their jobs in 2021. Singapore also lost many experienced foreign nurses because of the competition for nurses from other countries during the pandemic.

These developments added to bed crunch problems that public hospitals had been facing in recent months. These were so severe in some instances that they spilled over to their emergency departments. Bed occupancies, emergency department attendances and bed wait times have improved since then, but they have provided lessons on how to manage the provision of healthcare better, so Singaporeans can continue to enjoy the high standards to which they are accustomed at public hospitals, the crucial pillar of the healthcare system.

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