Health and social sectors need massive influx of new professionals
A main challenge facing the health and social sectors is to recruit enough staff to make the system sustainable in the future.
Of the roughly 450,000 local government employees, 136,000 work in healthcare and 109,000 in social welfare. In the next 10 years 38,000 healthcare and 30,000 social welfare employees are due to retire, a steep increase in the retirement rate reflecting burgeoning population ageing.
Some of the anticipated problems are already evident. There is a shortage of doctors and not enough professionals in speech therapy, nursing, laboratory work and dental nursing.
According to MSAH experts, expanding recruitment training programmes alone will not make up for the looming deficit in social and health sector professionals, though the attraction of a new generation of professionals remains crucial.
The current national programme to reform the health service runs some 15 pilot schemes to rationalise the division of labour and retraining opportunities of the healthcare system. The parallel programme on social sector reform also entails projects to boost the effectiveness of social welfare through workplace reform and improvement.