President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that he has asked the Department of Health (DOH) to coordinate with private hospitals to give medical professionals a pay raise of at least 3 percent.
Noting that civil servants are due to get a 3 percent salary increase with effect from July 1, Ma said he has asked the department to help do the same in private hospitals.
Addressing the shortage of hospital nursing staff, the president said the department had allocated a special fund of NT$1 billion (US$34.7 million) to increase the number of nurses.
“The amount will be further increased to NT$2 billion,” he said during a meeting with medical professionals at Mackay Memorial Hospital.
The nurse-to-patient ratio will be included in hospital assessments in the future and the government will work hard to ensure nurses “get off duty on time,” he added.
The department recently said that it plans to increase the number of nurses in Taiwan to help address the shortage of nursing staff.
Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達), also present at the event, said the nurse-to-patient ratio would be increased from 1:4 to 1:3.
There are about 224,000 registered nurses nationwide, but less than 60 percent of them are currently working in that profession, according to the National Union of Nurses’ Associations.
Only 17 percent of the nurses who responded to a recent survey conducted by the organization said they were willing to stay in their jobs for the next three years.
Among those who said they would not stay that long, the main reasons cited were low pay, heavy workload and high pressure.
Ma said that expenditure on the national healthcare system had increased from 6.2 percent of GDP three years ago to 6.7 percent now.
He expressed the hope that the figure would be increased to 7.5 percent of GDP in the not too distant future.