VALLETTA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Malta's Health Ministry on Wednesday launched a strategy that aims to beef up the country's workforce in the health sector which is struggling to cope with departures and a lack of new recruits.
The strategy, stretching to 2030, seeks ways of attracting, developing and retaining an inclusive, diverse and resilient workforce through supportive human resource management.
The ministry acknowledges that globalization, coupled with a severe shortage of professionals in certain categories, has brought about an increased dependency on foreign workers in the health sector.
It suggests a number of measures that could help attract and retain health sector employees. These include a program to help foreign workers adapt to Malta's culture; the digitalization of the healthcare system; investment in artificial intelligence; the promotion of telemedicine; and improved and more flexible working conditions.
Language is one of the main barriers as 11 percent of the country's healthcare workers are foreigners, mainly from India and Pakistan. The strategy also proposes more remote working, building on the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic. This could work well for non-patient tasks, such as writing and reviewing clinical notes, accessing laboratory and radiology results, writing referrals and prescriptions, and other administrative work.
"A robust healthcare workforce is the cornerstone to building a health service fit for purpose today and in the future. It aims to shape the future healthcare workforce in Malta," the strategy says.