Private sector allowed to hire foreign nurses

PETALING JAYA: To plug the shortage of nurses in the country, the Health Ministry will allow private healthcare facilities to hire foreign-trained nurses without a post-basic qualification (JTWA), among other measures.

An exemption will be given from Oct 1 this year to Sept 30, 2024, with additional extensions allowed for 12 months based on approvals by the JTWA Temporary Practising Certificate (TPC), said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

The foreign nurses must still sit for the Nursing Board’s Malaysian Nursing Board Qualification Examination for Foreign-Trained Nurses.

Dr Zaliha said the number of foreign nurses in each private health facility cannot exceed 40% of the number of nurses at the facility.

She added that their recruitment must comply with the terms and conditions set by the Home Ministry, including details of salary and contract period.

As for public healthcare facilities, the permanent recruitment of nursing diploma graduates from public and private higher education institutions will be done in phases next year and in 2025, said Dr Zaliha.

“This is to fill the need for nurses at Health Ministry’s facilities and ensure the availability of job opportunities for local nurses.

“The Health Ministry is concerned and still gives priority to the welfare and career prospects of local nurses, who are always committed to providing the best health services to all Malaysians.

“The nursing workforce shortages in both the public and private sectors have had a great impact on effective health service delivery in Malaysia,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Zaliha added that the move to grant the exemption for private healthcare facilities is expected to have a positive impact on various sectors, such as the health tourism industry, to stimulate the economic growth of the country.

The decision has also been welcomed by the private medical industry as it can help optimise their operation and services, she said.

“With this, private health facilities will also be more ready to support the Health Ministry in an effort to meet the needs of people’s health, through public-private partnerships,” she added.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh had called for the government to consider allowing foreign nurses into Malaysia as a stopgap measure to ensure a sufficient number of nurses at private hospitals.

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