Sarawak needs more nurses for acute and specialised care as well as for placement in rural clinics.
State Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said currently, the nurse services ratio is 3.16 per 1,000 residents based on Sarawak’s population of 2,907,500 people in 2020.
He said the ratio is far less than most developing countries, which is eight nurses for 1,000 residents.
“Currently, 93.86 per cent or 6,146 trained nurse positions out of 6,548 positions offered under the Sarawak State Health Department have been filled,” he said during the opening of the 2023 Sarawak Nursing Conference (SNC) here today.
In his speech text read by Bukit Asek assemblyman Joseph Chieng, Dr Sim said only 1,874 community nurse (JM) positions had been filled out of the 2,875 available vacancies.
Dr Sim, who is also State Local Government Minister, said nurses in Sarawak were also lacking opportunities for senior-level promotions, and even if they are promoted, would have to serve in the Peninsula and be separated from their families.
In that regard, he hoped the Health Ministry will consider creating more senior nursing positions in Sarawak to allow senior nurses to remain home and serve the state.
Another important issue is the shortage of nurses in rural areas following a stop in the recruitment and training of JMs since 2015 as well as the delay in upgrading JM posts to trained nurses, he said.
“JMs who have attended training to become trained nurses more than two years ago have yet to be appointed to the position,” he said. — Bernama