MOH Calls For Support To Ramp Up Healthcare Capacity, Including Inactive Nurses

As Singapore deals with a surge in community infections, our healthcare workers are bearing most of the burden.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has thus called upon people with medical backgrounds to provide support for them as we ramp up our hospital capacity.

The response so far has been encouraging, they said, as 900 people have signed up.

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They may be deployed to Covid-19 facilities, depending on their experience and availability.

Healthcare manpower now a critical resource

In a press release on Friday (8 Oct), MOH described healthcare manpower as a “key resource constraint”.

As we cope with an influx of Covid-19 patients, public healthcare institutions and private healthcare providers have already redeployed some of their existing staff.

For example, the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) said Ms Izza Atiqa Ishak, a podiatrist, had stepped out of her usual role to mount staff surveillance swab operations.

Podiatrist Izza Atiqa Ishak
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MOH calling on inactive nurses

Besides making use of existing staff, additional short-term manpower is also required as MOH tries to ramp up the number of beds for Covid-19 patients.

A way to bring in more manpower is by approaching nurses who’re currently inactive, but still registered with the Singapore Nursing Board.

They’re also contacting people who’re registered with the Singapore Healthcare Corps, whether they’re healthcare professionals or ordinary laypeople.

Response has been encouraging

The response has been encouraging, the MOH said.

That’s because about 900 people have already stepped forward to offer their services.

Photo for illustration purposes only
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They’re of all ages, but have 1 thing in common – they’ve responded to MOH’s “call to duty”.

MOH thanked all those who signed up.

They may be deployed to Covid-19 facilities

Some of these individuals might be thrown right into the deep end – being deployed at additional Covid-19 facilities that have been set up.

These include Community Treatment Facilities (CTF) around the island, which provide support for elderly patients with mild symptoms and underlying conditions.

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Other possible deployments will vary according to institution and care settings.

All of those accepted will be referred to public hospitals and matched with roles based on their experience and availability, as well as the institution’s needs.

More people still needed

More people are still needed, though, so those who’re interested in contributing to the Covid-19 fight can sign up at go.gov.sg/shc-covidops.

Even those who’re not trained healthcare professionals can sign up, but only those registered with professional boards and hold a valid practising certificate may be deployed to certain professional roles.

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Those shortlisted will be hired and paid as full-time or part-time locum staff.

More beds set aside for Covid-19 patients

MOH said more beds are being set aside for Covid-19 patients to cope with the increase in cases.

In fact, the number of Covid-19 beds has risen from 900-2,500 over the past 3 months.

About 170 of them are for those in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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Another 100 beds can also be hooked up at short notice to handle ICU cases.

As a reflection of the demand, Covid-19 isolation bed occupancy has increased from 62-85% between Jul-Oct.

The number of patients heading to Emergency Departments after a positive Covid-19 test has also risen by 8 times.

34% longer waiting time for non-Covid cases

As a result of the move to reduce pressure on healthcare manpower, many non-urgent, non-Covid-19 cases have been deemed as lower priority.

Hospitals are cutting down on less urgent surgeries and appointments for non-life threatening cases.

That means about 20% of cases have been deferred.

If you’re not a Covid-19 case, but being admitted to the Emergency Department at a public hospital, you’ll also face a 34% longer waiting time, MOH said.

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This is partly as there are fewer beds available for non-Covid patients.

All hands on deck

Singapore’s grappling with an unprecedented wave of Covid-19, with thousands of cases daily.

Thus, it’s all hands on deck for our healthcare system, and workers will need any help they can deck.

So kudos to the 900 who’ve answered the call of duty for a much-needed contribution.

If you can, do consider joining our national battle against the virus.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from National Museum of Singapore on Facebook. Photo for illustration purposes only.