The Ministry of Health (MOH) has estimated that 30,000 additional healthcare workers would be needed by 2020 in order to meet the demands of the country’s ageing population.
On Thursday (20 Oct), MOH launched a manpower plan aiming to attract more Singaporeans to take up careers in the healthcare industry and to ensure they are well-equipped to carry out the tasks.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the plan aimed to meet the growth in demand for healthcare and sustain good salaries for workers.
The plan consists of three strategies:
- Equipping the healthcare workforce with relevant skill-sets to prepare for the evolving healthcare needs of an ageing population,
- Growing a strong local core by investing in fresh school leavers as well as mid-career entrants,
- Improving the work environment and patient experience with technology.
MOH said the initiatives to equip healthcare workers with better skills include a new SkillsFuture Earn and Learn program in gerontology nursing.
The program will be introduced by Nanyang Polytechnic from December 2016 to give new nursing graduates the opportunity to undergo on-the-job training.
Another initiative is the Return to Nursing program, which will see former nurses undergo a refresher course before starting work.
And with an expectation of 30 percent increase in family medicine trainees by 2019, more doctors are also being trained.
MOH said scholarships and sponsor-ships would be available for young Singaporeans to pursue healthcare training programs at both local and overseas institutions.
Mid-career professionals will be supported through several initiatives, including an enhanced healthcare professional conversion program. This program also will provide participants with a training allowance during their courses of study.
The third strategy includes partnering healthcare providers with aims:
- To improve processes,
- Adopt new technologies,
- Expand job roles, and
- Review rules and regulations.
MOH stated in documents attached on the plan, “In tandem with our aspirations to become a Smart Nation, public healthcare institutions are endeavoring to deliver more efficient and productive services through the use of technology.”
The Health Minister also stated, “The transformation of the healthcare workforce is a journey that we need to embark together – as leaders, as healthcare workers, as patients and caregivers (and) as individuals,” and added, “Only if we all share the same vision of what a good healthcare system for tomorrow is, and what the important skills and career options are, can we build a healthcare system that will serve Singaporeans well for many more years to come,”