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Singapore surpasses nursing recruitment target in 2023 amidst high attrition rates

In 2023, Singapore recruited a record 5,600 nurses, surpassing a 4,000 target amid tackling high attrition rates and boosting the post-Covid-19 healthcare workforce.



In 2023, a record 5,600 nurses accepted positions in the public healthcare system, of which 4,500 have already been registered.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung made this announcement on February 10 during his visit to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), amidst the Chinese New Year celebrations.

This announcement sought to highlight the success of the recruitment drive, which surpassed the initial target of 4,000 nurses aimed to replenish and expand the workforce post-Covid-19.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed an upward trend in nurse registration, with the figures for 2023 exceeding the previous year’s 3,400 new registrations.

This increase is part of a concerted effort to address the shortages exacerbated by the pandemic and to cater to the needs of Singapore’s ageing population.

The nation faced a significant challenge with a higher attrition rate among foreign nurses in 2021 and 2022, due to global competition for healthcare professionals as borders reopened.

Statistics shared in August 2022 indicated notable attrition among both local and foreign public sector nurses, with foreign nurses experiencing a sharp increase in their attrition rate to 14.8% in 2021, from a reported pool of 43,000 nurses at the end of 2021. Details of the attrition rate for 2022/2023 is unknown.

The attrition rate of local public sector nurses increased from 6% in 2017, to 6.3% in 2018, and then to 7% in 2019. It dropped to 5.4% in 2020 before rising to 7.4% in 2021. The exact figure for 2022 is not provided, but it is said to have remained stable.

For foreign public sector nurses, international competition has been more intense, and the attrition rate has increased more significantly, from 8.2% in 2017, to 9.1% in 2018, and then to 9.4% in 2019. It dropped to 7% in 2020 before increasing sharply to 14.8% in 2021, and then slightly dropped to 14.5% in 2022.

In response to these challenges, the MOH has outlined the need for 82,000 nurses, allied health professionals, and support care staff by 2030 to maintain healthcare services for the ageing demographic.

To retain and attract foreign talent, Mr Ong disclosed that more foreign nurses were granted permanent resident status in 2023, acknowledging their crucial role during the pandemic and in Singapore’s healthcare sector.

The majority of these nurses originate from neighbouring countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Myanmar.

In a parliamentary question last July, it was revealed that over the past five years, an average of around 1,200 foreign healthcare workers were granted Permanent Resident (PR) status each year.

More than six in ten of these individuals are nurses, with the remainder including doctors, allied health professionals, and other healthcare workers.

In an effort to further incentivize the nursing profession, the MOH plans to announce a long-term incentive program before the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, similar to schemes available to teachers and officers in the Home Team and the Singapore Armed Forces.

According to Mr Ong, this move aims to significantly enhance the remuneration package for nurses, who represent the largest professional group within the healthcare system.

During his hospital visit, Mr Ong expressed gratitude to the healthcare staff working during the holiday season and distributed Chinese New Year goodie bags in Ward 5C, a testament to TTSH’s commitment to innovation in patient care.

He acknowledged the challenges faced by healthcare workers, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and mutual support in overcoming the demands of the profession.

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Of course you can “recruit” more nurses in the short-term by dangling all the benefits to foreigners living in distant lands.

Once they arrive and see the cons of living and working in Singapore. Do you think they will stay in the long-term?

The ruling government has managed to turn the nursing profession. Something well-respected in the developed world into a scam. Clearly a talent that deserves a million-dollar salary, according to the 70%.

Remember OYK was one of 77 white monkeys who voted for the Population White paper which stated that Nursing is a low-skill profession. Yet he is now in charge of healthcare and our nurses. This is the type of person who stabs us in the back, then later wayang-wayang that he always “supports” Singaporeans (especially near elections).

He seems very happy to have hit his KPI but can we ask 2 important questions: (1) How many rounds of salaries increases in the last few years have to increase (all come from our pockets and not his) and throw in huge incentives just to stem the outflow of foreign healthcare workers? (2) Overly reliance on foreign healthcare workers will have its severe consequences when a bigger outflow come next time with a fast increasing population that is not organically grown but by massive importing tens to hundreds of thousands aliens into SG in a short space of time… Read more »

The way PAP Administration SHOUT and SHOUT excitingly hitting nurses recruitment target REMINDS one of a person Hitting Toto Jackpot 1st Prize $million bucks.

When PAP hit productivity and birth rates targets one presumably PAP is akin to strike TOTO RÉUNION draw $5 million Alone unshared prize.

Hitting the target of nurses, docs recruitment is SUCH A BIG BIG DEAL to PAP Administration.

Is the PAP a bunch of squeaking, giggling, gawking school boys and girls?

Is the PAP so Bloody Primitive, just EMERGED from their caves DWELLINGS.

Is the PAP Administration GOING to write this ACHIEVEMENT of Nurse, doctors recruitment in the World Guinness Book of Records.

In fair analysis, OYK/MOH should release the comparative nursing attrition rates in other developed/OECD countries. So what MOH had achieved high recruitment last year?? As analogue, Russia says it is able to recruit more soldiers to replace those lost in current war with Ukraine, but are the Russians winning???

We already know our PM/ministers are the highest paid in the world, yet that KPI doesn’t reflect their competency and achievements (if any), hor.

Stupid Management 102.

OYK, which institutions were these nurses trained in, in their own countries? Are they on par with our own nursing staff? How about language? Can they speak English? The population increase policy will always cause a shortage in all industries. Bringing in foreigners and giving them Singapore citizenships only prepares them to go off to Australia or New Zealand which will not take them in directly from their home countries. The citizenships and PRship allows them to buy HDB which is subsidised by taxpayers. After five years, they will take the profits from the sale of the HDB and move… Read more »

The MOST CRITICAL, the MOST IMPORTANT, NEGLECTED and NEGLECTED by these RECALCITRANT Millionaire Bastards, is the ISSUE of National Productivity for 10s and 10s of years – this Should be PAP Administration’s MOST HATED CRIME against 100s of 1000s and 1000s of the people of Singapore AND INCLUDES 100s and 1000s those NOT YET BORN.

Loong HAS MADE a Solemn Promiz to resolve – see, TO THOSE WHO has EYES 👀, what has happened, WHAT SERIOUS damages DONE by ULTRA SELFISH Politicians?

How can 1000s and 1000s of Voters remain quiet and continue to vote PAP Administration? I wish to know what’s the answer.

Foreign population increased in SG, so foreign med personnel are pushed into SG by PAP to treat extra foreigners.

Is this a good math solution?

Eliminate foreigners = eliminate need for Foreign med trash?

Any PAP Administration MP who vowed to speak and rep his constituents when voted into Parliament, worth his salt, EVER QUESTION , if he’s concerned about – and is he going to – the Co Relation between medical mishaps including deaths and the upsurge of foreigners medical personnel working here? While I don’t question the integrity or debase at these Foreign Nightingales – BUT I m concerned about the PAP Administration’s LOOSE QUALITY policies in admission of Foreign Med carers bcz of the PARAMOUNT seriousness matters of Life and Death which the PAP Administration hardly notice of, the Multiple Numbers… Read more »

What idiotic minister, … would ever have seen this as an achievement to brag about and sufficiently momentous to wanna headline it !!! Only dimwit ministers looking desperately for brownie points and one “up~manship”, … who’s so far removed from the situation and surrounded by “yes” water~carriers who’ve lauded the brilliance in the idea of showcasing the “achievement” !!! Recruiting more “foreign” nurses who’ll need more training to adjust to the SillyPore way, … filling in on an oredi overworked and understaffed healthcare system !!! And when these nurses, fully experience the strain for themselves and, … the crazy crazy… Read more »

A Story in Stupid Management:

A gov. agency keeps mismanaging its accounts, wasting taxpayers monies year and year through careless expenditure. So the minister-in-charge keeps asking for more and more funds to balance out its yearly deficit. Until, finally, taxation has increased such that allocated funds can make up for the deficit. Minister then pats himself, proudly announcing that he has solved the deficit issue.

Wow…. make Inflow becomes greater than outflow = Ownself says Ownself successful = Stupid Management 101.

Foreign nurses are definitely more caring than Singapore ones. They are also more hardworking willing to work shifts. Lee Kuan Yew was right. If Singaporeans are lazy, don’t blame the government for bringing in more hardworking people from outside!

Recall OYK’s notion of healthcare is that ppl from highly infested countries, during the peak of the covid period, are considered safe to be allowed into SG if they transit through Nepal. And his boss even considered him to be PM-material, too.

Had a similar experience. My mum had a hospital stay but the doctor (from South Asia) attending to her can only speak english (not even Singlish). So any questions or explanation to my mum required the presence of an interpreting nurse/staff. More than half the time, an interpreter wasn’t available, so half the time the doctor and patient can’t communicate. One can imagine how “memorable” the stay was for my mum. Yet our health minister is being paid million$ for such half-fuxk quality standards in our healthcare sector. His justification for his million$ pay? Oh we are able to recruit… Read more »

oh is that why the quality dropped?

Show the Data on locals and foreign interference employed instead of wayanging that hit target. If can employed so many foreigners to plug the holes … So it applies to Overpaid Ministers too. No?!?

Again, the figures only show how incompetent our million$ monkeys are. Very happy recruitment exceeded attrition rate, which is Stupid Management style. Good management would tackle why attrition is so high, work to reduce it and stop the cycle of recruit-train-lose talent-recruit again. But with a Boss that relies on the zodiac cycle to tackle our birthrate issue, Stupid Management is obviously good enough for them. Just raise taxes to fund the wastage from Stupidity, lor – so simple, hor.

Polytechnics need to redevelop their courseware on nursing diplomas with hospitals deeply involved.
Ministry need to review nursing certification and allow opportunities for nurses to command higher salaries.

Nursing must be seen to be a profession that is worth the pay and avenues to climb the ladder.
It must be equal or better than any 1st world nursing salaries.

Cheap can be fast but not good
Fast can be good but not cheap

You cannot have both and still be cheap.

And how much public funds were poured In to attract them to take up nursing?

So locals do not want these jobs, they continue to rubber stamp WP and SPass to take on such jobs.
So locals please don’t cry father mother, if you claim there are no jobs availiable!!😆😆😆

Never SHOW the breakdown, from where they pluck all these nurses …local?!? Foreign Interference?!?

As if no sg male or females are smart enough to be trained as doctors, nurses or Healthcare professionals .
Total failure of this sgov to train and increase our own pool of docs & nursing personnel…
All PAP wants is cheap cheaper cheaperest…SGs are too expensive to employ…
A real betrayer of trublu sgs.