HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's health ministry to inject $24m funding to strengthen manpower

About 9,000 additional staff will be needed until 2020.

With the increasing healthcare demand due to an ageing population and growing chronic disease burden, the Ministry of Health will be needing about 9,000 additional staff for new facilities and services in the next three years.

According to senior minister of state for health Dr Amy Khor, approximately 50% of these jobs are PMET level roles which include nurses, therapists, administrative executives, and operations managers.

"MOH will invest an additional $24m over the next three years to enhance our healthcare conversion and training programmes, to enable more mid-career Singaporeans to take up new careers in the sector," said Khor.

To recall, the MOH and Workforce Singapore (WSG) have established Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) for mid-career Singaporeans to be trained as Registered and Enrolled Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Diagnostic Radiographers.

Khor noted, " This year, MOH will further increase funding for nursing PCP training so that employers co-fund only 10% of the training cost, down from the current 20% to 50%. We will also provide new on-the-job training support of $12,000 per mid-career enrolled nurse and $16,000 per mid-career registered nurse to employers."

The funding is expected to encourage employers to admit more PCP-trained nurses and enable them to better support these nurses in their transition to a new career.

Besides enhancing the local professional conversion programme, MOH will also introduce a new overseas nursing scholarship under the Healthcare Graduate Studies Award (HGSA) for non-nursing degree graduates, including fresh graduates and those with prior work experience.

Meanwhile, Khor mentioned that there will also be new jobs in the aged care sector, as nursing home capacity is expected to reach 17,000 in 2020. However, she said the needs of aged care are not and should not be met by nursing homes alone.

"In fact, most Singaporeans prefer to age at home, so we should work towards making nursing home care an option of last resort. To achieve this, MOH is strengthening home and community care options to help seniors avoid institutionalisation, and age comfortably at home and in the community," she noted.

In the next three years, MOH aims to increase day and home care services by 40%.

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