The Ministry of Health in Singapore plans to invest S$ 24 million to attract more workers to the healthcare sector, particularly mid-career professionals. Supporting this plan, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said at the Parliament, around 9000 staff will be needed, of which half of the job roles will see demand for PMETs such as nurses, administrative executives, therapists and operation managers.
“The positive news is that the growth in the healthcare sector will bring many good jobs, clinical and non-clinical, and at different levels, for Singaporeans. In the next 3 years, we estimate that about 9,000 additional staff will be needed for new facilities and services in the public healthcare and aged care settings,” Dr Khor said during her ministry’s Committee of Supply debate session.
One of the initiatives aimed at attracting mid-career Singaporeans involves increased funding for the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) for Nursing scheme so that employers co-fund only 10 per cent of the training cost, a reduction from the current 20 to 50 per cent, Channel News Asia reports.
Employers hiring enrolled nurses and registered nurses from the PCP programme will receive on-the-job training support of S$12,000 and S$16,000 respectively. While registered nurses will be required to handle more medical duties, the enrolled nurses will support the registered nurses in providing essential nursing duties such as conducting active patient and caregiver education.
“The funding will encourage employers to admit more PCP-trained nurses and enable them to better support these nurses in their transition to a new career,” said Dr Khor. “We will also tap on Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) new “Attach and Train” scheme to enable more mid-career Singaporeans to take up PCP nursing training.”
Also a two-year overseas nursing scholarship will be introduced to support non-nursing degree graduates to pursue a Graduate Entry Masters nursing programme overseas. Upon graduation, the recipients of the scholarship will return to practice as registered nurses in public healthcare institutions. “The ministry aims to give out 20 scholarships annually,” Dr Khor said.
See: MOH Launches Manpower Plan; 30,000 New Healthcare Jobs to Be Created by 2020
Non-clinical roles, such as administrative and executive positions in the areas of human resource and hospital operations, will also be made available for PMETs.
Meanwhile, he Regional Health Systems (RHSes) will be training more mid-career Singaporeans as care coordinator associates, to coordinate the care services required by patients post-discharge and empower patients to manage their conditions at home. Many public hospitals have created basic care assistant positions that will provide personal care to patients, such as feeding and transferring. Employers are set to receive on-the-job training support of S$10,000 for each basic care assistant hired.
About 200 Singaporeans for this part-time role as basic care assistants will be recruited by public hospitals over the next three years. Mid-career professionals with managerial experience can also tap on the Senior Management Associate Scheme to switch into the aged care sector, which is also on the lookout for PMETs to lead the new institutions.
As MOH aims to increase day and home care services by 40 per cent between 2016 and 2020, more care staff will be needed for the aged and the elderly. This move is in a bid to strengthen home and community care options to help seniors age comfortably at home and in the community.
According to Dr Khor, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) will enhance the Community Care Traineeship Programme (CCTP) by including “more structured bite-sized training” to help Singaporeans take up healthcare and therapy assistant roles. In addition, employers will receive on-the-job training support of S$10,000 for each new care worker.
Under the ‘Return to Nursing’ Programme, nurses employed by aged care providers will receive support for their refresher training course fees and draw full salaries during the 3-month training duration. Returning nurses transiting into the aged care sector will also be eligible for a bonus of between S$3,000 and S$5,000.
Also read: No Change in Job Roles or Salaries Anticipated after Reorganisation of Healthcare System in Singapore