Manpower Situation

MP Sylvia Lim

Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied): Chairman, in the last two years, there has been much press on the bad working conditions of junior doctors and nurses in the public healthcare system. There is also evidence, both anecdotal and from statistics, that Singapore is losing experienced healthcare practitioners to other countries and to private healthcare. One of the most often cited reasons is burnout and bad work-life balance. 

 As Singapore’s population ages, the expected number of healthcare professionals needed to meet the rising demand for healthcare is increasing in absolute terms. Thus, this attrition in healthcare staff is clearly not sustainable. I would like to ask the Minister for Health three questions pertaining to the healthcare manpower issues. 

 First, what are the measures in place to retain experienced staff, including those from foreign countries? Alternatively, are there active plans to encourage experienced staff that have left the public healthcare system to come back, by making their overall package and working conditions more attractive? 

 Secondly, regarding the 2021 National Wellness Committee for junior doctors, have any recommendations from it been implemented so far? Is there a similar committee for nurses and allied healthcare professionals? 

 Lastly, are there concrete performance indicators that the Ministry sets to measure the work-life balance of junior doctors and nurses, for example, a target average number of working hours per week?  

Ministry of Health
3 March 2023

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