PETALING JAYA: Private health facilities may begin to hire foreign nurses from Oct 1 to Sept 30 next year, says health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
This follows the recent announcement by the health ministry that it had exempted foreign nurses from having to obtain a post-basic qualification to work in Malaysia.
Zaliha said these foreign nurses will still be required to sit for an exam set by the Malaysian Nursing Board, which is under the health ministry, and would be subject to terms and conditions set by the home ministry for foreign workers.
This includes the contract duration and remuneration details, she added.
“Their service may be extended for up to 12 months (upon the expiry of their contract), subject to the approval of their temporary practising certificates. This will be reevaluated according to current needs.
“The number of foreign nurses in a private health facility must also not exceed 40% of the total number of nurses they employ,” she said in a statement.
Last week, Dr Kuljit Singh, president of the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia, told FMT that the ministry’s decision would help private hospitals meet the increasing number of patients seeking private medical care.
He said previously, only specialist nurses in fields such as critical care, paediatrics, or mental health were allowed to work in private healthcare facilities here.
“The exemption now allows all foreign nurses to work in the country.
“This is what we have been asking for, normal nurses, not specialist nurses, so that we can open more beds to cater to patients seeking private healthcare,” he said.
Zaliha expressed hope that with this move, private hospitals would support her ministry’s efforts to meet the health needs of the people through public-private partnerships.
She expected this move to also yield positive effects for the health tourism industry, thus contributing to the nation’s economic growth.
“However, the health ministry continues to prioritise the welfare and career prospects of local nurses, who have always been committed to providing the best healthcare service to Malaysians.
“With that, the ministry will implement a permanent intake of local nursing diploma graduates in phases from 2024 to 2025.
“This will fill the need for nurses in government healthcare facilities and ensure job opportunities for local nurses.”