Singapore to hire 30,000 more healthcare workers by 2020 to take care of ageing population

Author: PM editorial | Date: 26 Oct 2016

Growing need to care for ageing population will create “good jobs for Singaporeans of all ages”

Singapore will need 30,000 more healthcare workers by 2020, according to the Ministry of Health’s report, Caring For The Nation: Transforming Tomorrow’s Healthcare.
 
There are currently 70,000 people working in the sector, from doctors to support care staff and administrative staff. But the country’s ageing population means there is an increasing need for healthcare professionals who specialise in caring for the elderly, in areas such as geriatric medicine.
 
Not only are a significant number of new staff needed but new infrastructure too – 2,100 beds in public hospitals and 9,100 beds in community hospitals and nursing homes.
 
In 2015, there were 460,000 people aged 65 years or older living in Singapore and the report estimates this will grow to 610,000 by 2020.
 
“With a growing and rapidly ageing population, there will be good jobs for Singaporeans of all ages, both in healthcare and in aged care delivery,” said Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s health minister, in the report.
 
“The profile of the workforce will change – we need a different mix of specialities, our workforce will need new skills and be able to leverage technology to innovate and chart new frontiers in healthcare delivery to improve the lives of Singaporeans,” he added.
 
The average life expectancy for someone born in Singapore in 1990 was 75.3 years (ranked 23rd in the world) but by 2013 it was 82.4 years (ranked fifth in the world).
 
SkillsFuture Study Awards will offer $5,000 for the healthcare workforce to develop skills in areas such as aged care, healthcare IT and data analytics or healthcare design, organisation and delivery. Scholarships and training programmes will also be offered to train people from outside the healthcare sector with important skills.
 
Hong Kong faces a similar challenge of an ageing population and shrinking workforce. Many HR professionals there believe increasing the retirement age could solve their manpower shortage.