Great news! 4,500 jobs to be created in the Healthcare sector within the next 2 years. This will surely come as good news to people who are facing retrenchments, or already have been retrenched. I think many Singaporeans have come around to the inevitable - the inevitability that jobs will be lost, but jobs elsewhere will be created, that to remain employed and employable, we just have to change by acquiring new skills.
Except, you wonder what vacancies these 4,500 are supposed to fill in the Healthcare sector? And if the Healthcare sector was missing 4,500 admin and ancillary staff up till now, you wonder how Singapore has gained a good reputation for the efficiency of its healthcare services so far? Or are we padding our hospitals and other healthcare establishments such as Polyclinics? Well, yes, there will be a new Hospital, the Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital come 2010, so recruiting and training people in the next two years makes sense. But does it require 4,500 administrative and ancillary staff to run the hospital? And the long waits at government Polyclinics, a bug-bear for many years, are hardly caused by a lack of administrative staff, it more like not enough doctors.
If these staff are not absolutely necessary, I hope they do not add to the already high cost of medicine in Singapore. Already, means testing has started, and I fear for people in the middle-income bracket ending up paying for these government pump-priming activities. Almost every commercial firms are looking at cutting cost nowadays with not a few deciding that they could do with less staff. While government activity will help to fill these gaps in the employment market, I hope that when better times come around, healthcare cost will not go up because "operational costs have gone up..."
Image: morgueFile.com. Author: Clara Natoli