PETALING JAYA: As the number of private hospitals in the country increases, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals is soaring, particularly for nurses.

The Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) found that of the 103 member hospitals it surveyed in November last year, 9,224 additional nurses will be required from this year to 2025.

In a move to address the matter, the Health Ministry has announced that foreign nurses will be exempted from having a post-basic qualification to work in the country. The exemption will be effective from Oct 1 to Sept 30 next year.

Previously, only foreign specialist nurses with post-basic qualifications were allowed to work in Malaysia under strict regulations.

APHM president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said with the exemption, the country can position itself as a leading healthcare hub for local and international patients.

“The demand for trained nurses has increased in recent years due to the growth of private hospitals and the migration of local nurses to work abroad.

“To address this, the country is now accepting applications from nurses from India and the Philippines, among others.”

Kuljit said the exemption will benefit private hospitals by allowing them to serve more patients and potentially participate in public-private partnerships to treat patients from government hospitals.

Commenting on the extension of the employment period beyond next September, he said it can be decided based on their performance and the hospital’s needs when the time comes.

He also expressed gratitude to the Health Ministry and the Registrar of the Nursing Board for granting the long-awaited exemption.

“Private hospitals would like to thank Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa, and the Registrar of the Nursing Board Devi Saravana Muthu for their assistance in the matter.

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

He said the Health Ministry’s initiative demonstrates its commitment to improving private healthcare delivery alongside public healthcare services.

Kuljit said in supporting the medical tourism hub, APHM has joined hands with the government and the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council to bring in more foreign patients.

With the support and cooperation of all stakeholders, he said the country has the potential to establish itself as a premier healthcare destination, catering to the needs of both local patients and medical tourists.

Looking ahead, he expressed hope that the Health White Paper, which aims at reforming the nation’s health system, will further enhance collaboration between the public and private sectors.

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