Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Nurses, medical assistants can now get higher pay

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Nurses, medical assistants, x-ray technicians and health inspectors can now go higher up the pay scale under a new integrated graduate scheme by the Health Ministry.

Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the plan aimed to improve the overall pay of these medical personnel so that they would be more focused on giving quality care to patients.

“I hope these graduates provide healthcare services by not just stressing knowledge and skills but also possess positive values in patient care,” he said on Monday.

He said this after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry and 24 public and private institutions of higher learning to use its facilities for various healthcare education programmes.

Liow said nurses with first degrees would be able to receive pay grades from U41 to U54. It was learnt that the basic pay for degree-holders in grade U41 was nearly RM2,000 per month excluding housing, personal, cost-of-living, critical post and public service allowances.

The base pay including allowances for nurses at U48 is about RM8,000.

To reach the top pay grade of U54, the nurses had to have at least a Masters degree and have served more than 20 years as a nurse along with the necessary experience, skills and competence.

At the moment, nurses in the country received only up to U48 salaries.

According to Liow, the country did not have enough nurses as there was only one nurse to 375 residents.

“We need to reach one nurse to 200 residents to meet World Health Organisation standards by 2015,” he said.

Liow also said the higher pay scheme were to stop brain-drain of local nurses leaving for better pay in countries such as Dubai and others in the Middle East.

“This should be good news for nurses. Malaysia cannot continue to have cheap labour.

“If we want to retain our workers, we can’t pay them any less,” he said.

This year, he said some 6,000 nurses were trained by the country’s 27 Health Ministry colleges, 10 public and 54 private institutions that offered nursing education.

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