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25 Feb 2022

24th Feb 2022

We thank Mr Tan Siak Khian (Solutions to healthcare manpower crunch needed, Feb 16), Mr Ong Soon Leong (Let retired nurses help out in times of national need, Feb 19), and Dr Desmond Wai (Not fair to imply medical community is resistant to change, Feb 21) for their feedback.

The demands of COVID-19 have placed significant stress on our public healthcare system. Over the last two years, our healthcare workers have been battling tirelessly on the front line. We deeply appreciate their contribution and hard work.

To support the national fight against the pandemic and share the workload of our healthcare workers, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has tapped the Singapore Armed Forces, the public service and the private sector, including the Public Health Preparedness Clinics mentioned by Dr Wai.

We also appreciate the help that retired nurses bring to the national effort.

For those who wish to play their part, we enable retired or out-of-practice nurses to help out even if they do not currently have a practising certificate.

Some have been deployed into support care roles, where their nursing background is put to good use in a range of basic clinical tasks, and assisting patients with activities of daily living. Others have received just-in-time training and taken up more specialised roles in vaccination and swab testing operations.

Anyone can play a part during this period, both healthcare professionals and laypeople. We thank all who have stepped forward. Their contributions and expertise have been an invaluable help.

Interested individuals who are committed and available to help us can sign up via the SG Healthcare Corps at www.go.gov.sg/shc-covidops 

MOH is aware of the issues related to night calls and working hours, and we agree that sustainable measures are needed.

Through the national committee that looks into junior doctor wellness, MOH will work with the public healthcare institutions to review their working conditions.

We will also co-create solutions with various stakeholders, including junior doctors, to improve the overall well-being of our junior doctors.

Lavinia Low
Director, Manpower Planning and Strategy Division
Ministry of Health