Nurses being lured away

In demand: The government should look at giving good deals to nurses to ensure that local talents would continue working here instead of migrating overseas. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

JOHOR BARU: Malaysian nurses are being pinched as better offers come from abroad, resulting in an inadequate number of nurses at both public and private hospitals in Johor.

State health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said that currently, there are 12,533 nurses in Johor, of which 8,777 are in the public hospitals.

“I have carried out visits to both public and private hospitals in Johor, with all of them voicing their concerns over the lack of available nurses. This issue is not only affecting Johor but is also happening in other states. However, due to our close proximity to Singapore, we found that many local nurses have quit their jobs here after receiving offers to work there.

“A friend of mine, who is a nurse, currently works in the island republic where her income is equivalent to a specialist doctor in Malaysia due to the currency exchange rate,” he said when met after officiating the state-level International Nurses Day celebrations at Persada Convention Centre here yesterday.

He added that with the weakening ringgit value, there is a possibility that such trends would continue, with Malaysian nurses working abroad to find better pay.

“Not only are the nurses pinched, but we also see our local doctors attracted to migrate abroad after receiving good offers,” he said.

Ling also said that despite the migration of medical staff overseas, the need for nurses in the state is still not at a critical stage.

The inadequacy, however, needs to be filled so that healthcare services in Johor are not affected.

He added that the ratio currently stands at one nurse to 297 patients, compared to the supposed ratio of one nurse to 200 patients.

“So far, the number of posts for nurses in the state has been 98% filled but this is still not enough as health programmes and services are increasing, apart from new hospitals that need nurses,” he said.

Ling added that he would bring up the matter with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin soon as Johor needs between 15,000 and 18,000 nurses.

He said the government should look at giving good deals to nurses and doctors to ensure that local talents would continue working here instead of migrating overseas.

Ling said in his meeting with Khairy, he would propose that university graduates take nursing courses before they are absorbed into the health services sector in the state.

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