MOH Places 40% Cap On Foreign Nurses In Private Health Care Facilities

Dr Zaliha Mustafa says foreign trained nurses are capped at 40% in private health care facilities, following the 1-year exemption of post basic qualification. Hiring of foreign nurses must follow KDN conditions, including salary scale and contract period.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 – Foreign trained nurses cannot comprise more than 40 per cent of the nursing workforce in a private health care facility, according to Ministry of Health (MOH) rules.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa explained that the MOH decided to exempt the post basic qualification requirement for private health care facilities to hire foreign trained nurses, due to chronic nursing shortages in private hospitals.

The exemption is effective from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024; service extension is permitted for 12 months, based on approval of the foreign nurse’s temporary practising licence.

Other conditions for the post basic qualification exemption for foreign nurses include sitting for the Malaysian Nursing Board Qualification Examination for Foreign Trained Nurses.

The recruitment of foreign nurses must follow the terms and conditions set by the Home Ministry (KDN), including salary scale and contract period.

“This decision has been welcomed by the private medical industry because it will help optimise their operations and services,” Dr Zaliha said in a statement today.

“With this, private health care facilities will be better prepared to support the MOH in efforts to fill the health needs of the people through public-private partnerships. 

“The MOH expects this move to bring a positive impact to various sectors, such as the health tourism industry, subsequently improving the country’s economic growth.”

Dr Zaliha admitted a shortage of nurses not just in the private health care sector, but also the public sector.

The health minister said the MOH would hire nursing diploma graduates on a permanent basis in phases for next year and 2025. 

“This move will be taken to fill nursing needs in MOH facilities and guarantee job opportunities for local nurses.”

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Dr Kuljit Singh previously attributed the dire nursing shortage in private hospitals to the mass emigration of Malaysian nurses to countries like Singapore, New Zealand, and the Middle East.

Dr Kuljit had also said an APHM survey conducted among 103 private hospitals nationwide in November 2022 showed the need for an additional 9,224 nurses from 2023 to 2025, adding that popular origin countries of foreign nurses for Malaysia are India and the Philippines. 

APHM – which first announced last Monday the post basic qualification exemption prior to the health minister’s statement today – said the new policy would allow foreign staff nurses to come into the country, as previously, only foreign specialist nurses with post basic qualification could work here on a strictly regulated basis.

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