Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song (Aljunied): As Singapore’s population ages, the demand for intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) will continue to increase. A paper on the Future of Long-Term Care in Singapore by researchers from the LKY School of Public Policy, identified three main issues to tackle in this sector – manpower capabilities, infrastructure capacity and coordination across the sector. I will focus on manpower in my cut.
Manpower shortages are a key challenge for the ILTC sector. The ILTC workforce includes doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and social workers. A high proportion are foreigners. The Lien Foundation has pointed out that Singapore’s ILTC sector is more reliant on foreign workers than other fast-ageing economies such as Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. More needs to be done to attract locals to work in the ILTC sector.
What plans do MOH and ILTC providers have to encourage more Singaporeans to join the sector and what results have been achieved so far?
What progress has been made in enhancing salaries, work-life balance, organisational culture, professional development opportunities and fostering a greater sense of purpose towards the profession, particularly in the ILTC sector?
The Ministry could also look at attracting non-practicing or retired nurses to return, perhaps on a locum basis, to help relieve the manpower crunch in ILTCs. Ms Sylvia Lim also called for this earlier on.
Lastly, only 12% of registered nurses in 2021 were males. Is MOH looking to encourage more men to enter the profession so as to boost the overall numbers of nurses?
Ministry of Health
3 March 2023