More engagement with private healthcare needed on nurse shortage, says Dr Zaliha

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 30 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: More engagement sessions with the private healthcare sector are needed to address the shortage of nurses, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

Dr Zaliha said the authorities are well aware of the issue faced by the private healthcare sector.

“The ministry has taken note of the issue, and we need to conduct engagement sessions with the private sector to see how we can help with their needs," she said.

“Through these sessions, we will be able to ascertain matters such as hiring and procuring nurses from outside to help the private sector improve its services," added Dr Zaliha.

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She said it had yet to be decided if nurses had to be hired from overseas to address the shortage.

“Overall, we do have the number of nurses needed. In the public sector we saw there was an issue with the distribution, so we reassigned the nurses,” she said on Tuesday (May 30) in response to the nurse shortage highlighted by Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh.

He said a survey of 103 hospitals by APHM in November found that 9,224 more nurses will be needed from this year to 2025.

He said the shortage was brought to the ministry's attention one year ago.

“Private hospitals are interested in hiring nurses who have received training overseas.

"We have discussed this with the ministry’s Nursing Division and asked for an exception to Clause 5 of its guidelines on hiring foreign nurses.

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“We only asked for two to three years to fill the gap before the available nursing schools can meet demand.

"Currently it is difficult to (employ) foreign nurses due to stringent post-basic training requirements and difficult immigration laws,” Dr Kuljit added.

Earlier, Dr Zaliha officiated the 29th APHM International Healthcare Conference & Exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

More than 1,000 delegates and 200 exhibitors are taking part in the conference, which presents a platform to strengthen collaboration, exchange ideas, and address the challenges faced by the private healthcare sector.

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