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     The Ministry of Health (MOH) will further strengthen nursing manpower, by introducing a new sign-on bonus for fresh nursing graduates joining the nursing workforce this year, and enhancing sponsorship packages for nursing students. These efforts will help ensure a steady flow of nursing manpower to support our expansion in hospital bed capacity.


2.             Minister for Health Mr Ong Ye Kung announced these efforts at the Nurses’ Merit Award (NMA) ceremony on 19 July 2023.


125 Nurses Received Nurses’ Merit Award 2023


3.              MOH congratulates 125 awardees of NMA 2023, who come from various care settings, spanning the community care sector, private hospitals and public healthcare institutions. The Award comes with a medal to be worn as part of the nurse’s uniform and a cash prize of $1,000. Please refer to Annex A for the list of award recipients.


4.              The NMA started in 1976 and is awarded to nurses who have displayed noteworthy and exceptional performance, participated in professional development, and contributed to raising the nursing profession. Nurses are nominated for the award by their healthcare institutions and selected by a panel set up by MOH.


Building Up Our Nursing Manpower


5.              MOH had earlier announced that the healthcare sector targets to bring on board 4,000 nurses nationally this year – 40% more than pre-pandemic annual levels – to shore up our nursing workforce and cater for expansions of service capacity.


6.              We are on track to meet this annual target. In the first half of 2023, the public healthcare clusters have recruited about 2,000 new nurses through intensified local and overseas recruitment, and expect to recruit another 2,000 more nurses by the end of the year. Including nurses recruited in the private healthcare sector, we are on track to exceed the 4,000 target.


7.              MOH will continue to work with the public healthcare clusters and community care organisations to strengthen nursing recruitment. The clusters recently enhanced their sponsorships for nursing studies in the local Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), to encourage more students to take up nursing jobs in the clusters upon graduation. The sponsorships now cover at least half of a student’s tuition fees, going up to full tuition fees for Institute of Technical Education (ITE) nursing students. Monthly allowances during studies are also provided.


8.              Fresh local nursing graduates from the local IHLs who have not taken up a sponsorship or scholarship but enter nursing in the public healthcare clusters or publicly funded residential community care organisations, such as nursing homes, in 2023 will be eligible for a sign-on bonus of $15,000, paid out in three tranches of $5,000. The first tranche will be paid out at the start of employment, with the second and third tranches at the end of the first and second years of service respectively. The bonus will apply to fresh graduates who join between 1 January and 31 December 2023. Please refer to Annex B for details.


9.              MOH is committed to supporting all nurses, including those already in service. We are looking into a long-term retention scheme for nurses, and will share more details when ready. We also continue to work with healthcare employers to review the salary package of nurses on a regular basis. Overall, these efforts are meant to retain a pool of nursing manpower critical to Singapore.


10.          We will continue to care for our nurses’ wellbeing by working to alleviate their workload, and will continue to look into ways to further enhance and strengthen our nursing workforce.


Alleviating Bed Capacity Issues in Public Hospitals


11.          MOH remains committed to alleviating the bed capacity issues in our acute hospitals, by adding more acute beds and step-down care facilities.


Increase in Acute Beds


12.          280 acute beds will be added to our acute care institutions this year, mainly from the opening of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital-Integrated Care Hub (TTSH-ICH) in September 2023. The remaining acute beds will consist of additions to Alexandra Hospital (20 beds), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (100 beds), and Sengkang General Hospital (40 beds).


Expansion of Mobile Inpatient Care@Home (MIC@Home) Model


13.          The Mobile Inpatient Care@Home (MIC@Home) model allows patients who require acute hospital care to have their active medical issues managed through the delivery of inpatient-level services at their homes. The healthcare clusters have reported positive outcomes thus far; and the model will be expanded to approximately 100 to 200 MIC@Home beds.


Increase in Step-down Care Facilities


14.          To facilitate the right-siting of patients who no longer require acute inpatient care but require subsequent rehabilitation or step-down care as part of their recovery, 280 more community hospital beds will be added by the end 2023. This will include beds from the new TTSH-ICH, and Woodlands Health when it progressively opens its community hospital from December 2023. New community hospital beds will also be opened in Jurong Community Hospital, Outram Community Hospital and Sengkang Community Hospital.


15.          Patients who are awaiting their final discharge destination may also be cared for in Transitional Care Facilities (TCFs). More TCFs will be opened this year – one in the West near Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and another two in the Central region. This will add about 340 beds, which allows acute beds in hospitals to be freed up for patients receiving acute or medical care.


16.          Nursing home capacity will also be augmented with the addition of 310 more nursing home beds by end 2023. This addition will mainly come from the opening of a new nursing home and the expansion of two existing nursing homes.




19 JULY 2023

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