Singapore's Health Minister announced that his ministry will be hiring some 4,500 medical and healthcare professionals over the next two years. Announcing the manpower push in Parliament, Minister Khaw Boon Wan said this will increase the capacity of public hospitals and institutions, allow the sector “to do things we were not able to do before” and “transform the delivery” of healthcare in Singapore.
The boost in public health staffing will be funded by some $500 million out of the ministry's 2009 budget of $3.7 billion. The projected 4,500 will include doctors, nurses, allied healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists and pharmacists. Mr Khaw gave the breakdown of the targetted new hires as follows:
- 50% - nurses;
- 25% - doctors and allied health professionals;
- 25% - administrative and ancillary staff.
The Minister warned, however, that the increase in manpower could lead to significant increases in healthcare costs.
In further comments, Mr Khaw also noted that the public sector had been successful in recruitment and retention of doctors. He remarked that the number of doctors had increased from 2,800 in 2004 to 3,900 in 2008, with an attrition rate of 6% in 2008. The total number for nurses, pharmacists and key allied health professionals had similarly increased, from 11,000 in 2004 to 15,000 in 2008.[Read more about the Ministry of Health's 2009 Budget]