Resignation rates among healthcare workers rising: Janil , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Resignation rates among healthcare workers rising: Janil

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Resignation rates among healthcare workers are going up, said Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary yesterday.

Around 1,500 healthcare workers resigned in the first half of this year, compared with 2,000 a year pre-pandemic, he said.

"Foreign healthcare workers have also resigned in bigger numbers, especially when they are unable to travel to see their families back home," Dr Janil added.

Close to 500 foreign doctors and nurses resigned in the first half of this year, compared with around 500 last year and about 600 in 2019.

"These resignations were mostly tendered for personal reasons, for migration, or moving back to their home countries," he said in a ministerial statement in Parliament.

Dr Janil noted that for healthcare workers, it has been over 20 months of continuous daily battles against the pandemic, with a large proportion of them unable to take leave since last year. Over 90 per cent of them will not be able to clear their accumulated leave for this year, he noted.

"This is a higher proportion compared with the past two years. Our healthcare workers have gone way beyond the call of duty to care for their patients."

For the month of September, nurses worked for an average of 160 to 175 hours a month.

With healthcare workers being continuously overstretched, it is "not surprising" to find resignation rates going up this year.

The Ministry of Health is actively redeploying its manpower to serve as healthcare or patient care assistants at its institutions, Dr Janil said.

"We are stepping up recruitment of healthcare workers from overseas," he added.

Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh asked for foreign recruitment figures over the same period, explaining it would be helpful "to have the numbers that are coming on board and not just the numbers leaving".

Dr Janil responded by saying that he does not have any specific numbers, but one of the challenges of recruiting more foreign manpower is that they may be inexperienced in Singapore's healthcare environment and protocols.

Therefore, recruiting more staff will augment manpower in other parts of the healthcare ecosystem but is unlikely to make a "huge difference" in the intensive care unit.