Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam shared in parliament yesterday (2 Aug) that Singapore is losing our foreign nurses. She said that it is because of international competition. Once again, our government chooses to blame everything else instead of looking inward.
“Our issue that we’re seeing right now is the fact that we are losing foreign nurses. Due to the pandemic, now that the borders are open, they can go back. They are also being attracted by prospects overseas.”Rahayu Mahzam
They say they understand the nurses, but they really don’t.
Granted, the government does realize that the nurses don’t have enough rest. They also said they will look deeper into the issue of abuse and harassment of healthcare workers. However, any Singaporean can also tell them that our healthcare workers are frequently abused and overworked.
Their solution for that is to look into having emotional support networks. They also said that duty rosters are planned to ensure that the staff have enough rest. Once again they never think broader. If everyone has enough rest, it means that there will be less nurses per shift. This implies that when they have to work, they will have to manage too many patients.
The main issue is that we do not have enough nurses. Our compensation packages are not attractive enough, and our retention plan is barely there. Experienced ones are leaving for other countries, and not enough new hires are coming in.
We should be taking a closer look at what makes the healthcare industries overseas more attractive and try to match it. For a country that attracts so many government officials to come here for healthcare, the least we can do is to reward our healthcare workers accordingly.