MOH Now Allows Foreign Nurses to Work in Malaysia

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) has exempted foreign nurses from a post basic qualification requirement to work in Malaysia, the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) announced today. 

This means that foreign staff nurses can now come into the country; previously, only foreign specialist nurses with post basic qualification could work here on a strictly regulated basis.

APHM president Dr Kuljit Singh said his association received a letter from the Registrar of the Nursing Board under the MOH that stated the exemption was granted for one year from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024, with additional extensions granted based on re-application and approvals.

“Private hospitals would like to thank the Minister of Health, YB Dr Zaliha Mustafa, and the Registrar of the Nursing Board, Ms Devi Saravana Muthu, for their assistance in this matter,” Dr Kuljit said in a statement.

“Our repeated request has been granted, and patients seeking private care will now have better access and earlier admittance with available beds.”

Dr Kuljit also said the exemption would enable private hospitals to serve more public patients in a public-private partnership scheme, explaining to CodeBlue that this was because bed capacity in private facilities can now be increased with more nurses.

“In recent years, particularly following the epidemic, the demand for regular trained nurses has increased steadily as our skilled local nurses have gone for greater pay in other countries,” he said.

APHM previously complained about a dire nursing shortage in private hospitals, saying that Malaysia simply does not have enough local nurses.

The Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998 — which only applies to private facilities — prohibits private hospitals from opening up beds unless there are sufficient nurses to staff these beds.

Nursing shortages are not limited to private hospitals in the country. Johor Menteri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi previously found a severe shortage of doctors and nurses at Sultan Ismail Hospital forced the public hospital to close two wards and eight operating theatres.

“Malaysia has a great potential to be a health care hub for our local patients and medical tourists, and this initiative by the Ministry of Health demonstrates their concern for private health care delivery that supplements public health care,” Dr Kuljit said.

“We hope that the Health White Paper will enhance the public-private collaboration, allowing individuals to receive appropriate care on time, regardless of their financial situation, and ensuring the long-term viability of the workforce. As a result, the initial step of granting this exception demonstrates the emphasis that MOH authorities have.”

Source: CodeBlue