Ministerial Statement by Dr Janil Puthucheary
This ministerial statement was first published by the Ministry of Health, Singapore on November 01, 2021.
The State of our Healthcare Workers
Already, our hospitals are feeling the manpower crunch. Signs of fatigue can be seen amongst our healthcare workers. It has been over 20 months of continuous daily battle against the pandemic. A large proportion of our healthcare workers have not had the opportunity to take leave since 2020, and over 90% of them will not be able to clear their accumulated leave for 2021. This is clearly a much higher proportion compared to the past two years. Our healthcare workers have gone and continue to go way beyond the call of duty to care for their patients. The hospitals are trying to minimise having staff work overtime. For the month of September, our nurses worked for an average of 160 to 175 hours per month.
But this is taking a toll. They are getting tired. They are carrying a burden of care that is sometimes unimaginable. Having to hold a phone for a patient so their family can say their last goodbyes. Holding their patient’s hand, to keep them company, on behalf of the patient’s relatives. They need all the support we can give them.
At MOH, we are redeploying manpower, to serve as healthcare or patient care assistants at our institutions. We are reaching out to more volunteers to join the SG Healthcare Corps and support this important work. We are collaborating with private hospitals to ease some of the load on healthcare workers in our public hospitals. We are stepping up the recruitment of healthcare workers from overseas.
Link to full statement: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/ministerial-statement-by-dr-janil-puthucheary-senior-minister-of-state-ministry-of-health-on-update-on-icu-and-hospital-capacity-1-november-2021