No changes to roles and salaries for most staff: MOH

Two staff nurses walk down a corridor outside an almost empty ward at Alexandra Hospital on June 29, 2015.
Two staff nurses walk down a corridor outside an almost empty ward at Alexandra Hospital on June 29, 2015. PHOTO: ST FILE

The vast majority of healthcare staff will remain in their current roles after the mergers of regional clusters, the Health Ministry (MOH) said yesterday.

It also said it did not expect to see any changes made to the monthly salaries for most employees.

"Almost everyone within the public healthcare sector will continue in their current roles, within their current teams," said a ministry spokesman. He noted that the public healthcare groups are already "broadly aligned" where pay is concerned, so salaries are unlikely to change.

However, "a small number may eventually be redeployed, as the merged clusters better optimise their manpower", he added.

"In such cases, staff will be offered jobs that match their experience and skill sets without any changes to their current salaries. The clusters will consult with the union and staff on these changes."

 
 

The reorganisation will see the existing six regional health systems streamlined into three clusters, and also see the National University Health System take over the management of five existing polyclinics.

All 18 polyclinics are now managed by either Singapore Health Services or the National Healthcare Group.

Dr Lew Yii Jen, who will be stepping up to be the chief executive of the new National University Polyclinics, said he would ensure "minimum disruption" to workflow as the polyclinics are handed over, and make sure staff have opportunities to raise any concerns.

The ministry did not say how many public healthcare staff will be reporting to a new employer by early next year, when the entire transition is completed.

What is known is that three of the current six group chief executives - Mr Liak Teng Lit, Mr Foo Hee Jug, and Dr Lee Chien Earn - will no longer hold their current positions. MOH said they have all been offered senior positions in public healthcare.

In a separate statement yesterday, Ms Diana Chia, general secretary of the Healthcare Services Employees' Union, said it would work to make sure that workers' terms of employment are not adversely affected by the changes.

"The union will continue to hold engagement sessions with our members to address their concerns and clarify queries regarding the change," Ms Chia said.

"We will also continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to facilitate the transition of the affected healthcare workers."

Yishun Community Hospital chief executive Pauline Tan, as well as other senior executives in the sector, said that the changes would give employees more opportunities for learning and professional development.

The community hospital will soon come under the National Healthcare Group.

"The larger cluster, with its combined strengths and resources, will provide wider career options, professional development and learning opportunities for our staff," Dr Tan said.

"This will enhance our appeal as an employer of choice."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline 'No changes to roles and salaries for most staff: MOH'. Print Edition | Subscribe