Malaysia Must Recruit Foreign Nurses To Curb ‘Unprecedented’ Shortage: APHM

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia tells the government to immediately bring in foreign nurses amid an acute nursing shortage across the public and private sectors.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 – Private hospitals have urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to immediately liberalise the nursing labour market and bring in foreign nurses amid an acute shortage.

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) said private hospitals in the country are currently suffering an unprecedented shortage of nurses that it believes is also happening in public hospitals.

“We urge the government to facilitate training more nurses and making the processes to be trained in post-specialty basic seamless with better incentives for local nursing schools,” APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said in a statement yesterday.

“In the meantime there should be an immediate effort to have foreign nurses brought into Malaysia, regardless if they are post-basic specialised trained. This will immediately assist both private and public health care to cope with the current challenges we are all facing.

“Other countries within the region are offering better packages to our nurses to work in their countries and the brain drain will affect our health care.”

Johor state executive councillor in charge of health and unity Ling Tian Soon reportedly said last May that the state was facing a significant shortage of nurses, estimated at between 15,000 and 18,000, following an exodus to Singapore, where some nurses are paid as much as specialist doctors in Malaysia.

Dr Kuljit said the acute and unprecedented nursing shortage is causing delays in patient admission at private hospitals, leading to an increased burden on public hospitals as more patients are forced to go there despite their ability to afford private health care.

“Private hospitals have infrastructure for screening of diseases, particularly non-communicable diseases and as an immediate step, the Minister of Health should consider outsourcing to private hospitals to control the increasing complications of non-communicable diseases,” he added.

“The strength of the private hospitals in assisting the government in managing patients who are awaiting for treatment beyond reasonable time through the public-private partnership should be strengthened and continued as it was successfully conducted during the peak of the pandemic.”

APHM also congratulated Sekijang MP Dr Zaliha Mustafa, a freshman MP, on her appointment as health minister under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s administration.

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