KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 – Johor is short of between 15,000 and 18,000 nurses due to increasing numbers of local nurses working in Singapore, the state government said.
Malay Mail quoted Johor state health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon as saying that nurses’ salaries in Singapore are equivalent to a specialist doctor’s pay in Malaysia after taking into account the currency exchange.
“They get better deals (in Singapore). The state government does not have the specific statistics on how many of our nurses and doctors work in Singapore, but the number is growing every year,” Ling reportedly said yesterday at Johor’s Nurses’ Day celebration in Johor Baru.
“At present, more will find employment in Singapore due to the depreciating Malaysian ringgit.”
According to Ling, 12,533 nurses are currently working in Johor, with 8,777 serving in government hospitals and another 19 under contract. A total of 3,737 nurses are working in private hospitals in the state.
Although 98 per cent of nursing posts in Johor have been filled, the state exco said more nurses are needed due to the construction of new hospitals and the expansion of health programmes and services.
He said Johor’s current ratio stands at one nurse per 297 patients, almost 50 per cent larger than the recommended ratio of one nurse to 200 patients.
Ling reportedly said the shortage of nurses in Johor is not yet critical.
The Yong Peng assemblyman suggested offering better benefits to retain nurses and doctors in the state, besides offering nursing courses to university graduates before absorbing them into the public health sector.
“In order to overcome the insufficient number of nurses, the meeting with the health minister will discuss the best methods to overcome the problem,” Ling was quoted saying, referring to Khairy Jamaluddin.