JOHOR BAHRU: Johor is facing a significant shortage of nurses following an exodus to neighbouring Singapore.
State Health and Unity Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said although there are no specific figures on those who have moved to work in the republic, he believes the number is increasing every year.
He said Johor's nursing sector is experiencing a shortage of between 15,000 and 18,000 nurses.
"They (the nurses) received better offers. We expect even more to work in Singapore given the depreciating value of the ringgit at the moment.
"Some nurses working there are being paid as much as specialist doctors (here) when the currency is converted.
"However, I believe many still prefer to work here in Malaysia," he said after officiating the state-level Nurses' Day celebration at Pusat Konvensyen Persada Antarabangsa, here today.
He said the nurse to patient ratio currently stands at 1:297, compared to the target of 1:200.
Ling said he would be raising the matter with Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin soon to tackle the shortage issue.
"While nursing positions have been filled up to 98 per cent, it remains insufficient as health programmes and services have also increased. New hospitals also need nurses.
"The level of need for nurses in the state is still not critical but the imbalance needs to be addressed so that health services are not affected, and so that services are provided in the best and most effective way," he added.
There are currently 12,533 nurses in Johor with 8,777 of them in government hospitals, 19 under contract basis, and 3,737 working in private hospitals.