Debate on ministries' budgets

Moves to woo more locals to healthcare sector

The Health Ministry is stepping up efforts to attract local manpower to the healthcare sector, including those with no experience but might be thinking of make a career switch.

It is also developing a more in-depth training programme for nurses, with part-time "stackable" courses that can add up to higher qualifications and allow nurses to study while working.

"Our approach... must be to equip our healthcare workforce with future skills to give better care, achieve higher productivity and grow a strong local core," said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor in Parliament yesterday.

Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) and Nominated MP K. Thanaletchimi both asked about manpower shortages in the sector, especially with Singapore's growing healthcare needs.

Dr Khor said most publicsector healthcare professionals who turn 62 are re-employed, and the ministry will do more to hire seniors without healthcare experience.

She added that the total intake of medical students has risen by 40 per cent in the past five years, while that of nursing students, by 30 per cent.

Dr Khor also outlined new schemes to attract more people.

For example, the National University of Singapore will launch a part-time graduate diploma in community health nursing later this year.

Next month, the Institute of Technical Education will roll out a Work-Learn Technical Diploma in rehabilitation care.

"Given the twin challenges of rising demand for healthcare and slowing local labour force growth, we need to ensure sustainability of the healthcare workforce over the long term," she said.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2018, with the headline 'Moves to woo more locals to healthcare sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe