Mon, Apr 23, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Government plans better subsidies to hire nurses

Staff writer, with CNA

The government plans to increase the subsidies available to hospitals hiring resident nurses, in response to a shortage of medical personnel that has led to staff being overworked, a health official said yesterday.

A total of NT$2 billion (US$67.8 million) will be earmarked to improve the working conditions among medical personnel this year. Of that, NT$750 million will be used to subsidize hospitals, allowing them to hire more resident nursing staff, said Lee Chun-fu (李純馥), an official of the Department of Health’s Bureau of National Health Insurance.

Each hospital will get up to NT$30,000 for each additional resident nurse it employs.

The government has already been spending NT$1 billion annually to encourage hospitals to hire more nurses.

Lee said he hoped the new plan would encourage hospitals to hire an additional 2,000 resident nursing staff this year.

The decision was made in response to the intense workload for medical workers, which has come under the spotlight lately after a nurse uploaded an article to CNN’s iReport Web site complaining about the harsh conditions nursing staff suffer in Taiwan.

To get the subsidy, hospitals will have to file reports to the bureau every month to ensure that the ratio of nursing staff to patients meets a required standard.

At present, the bureau does not require hospitals to file regular reports.

However, Lee said staff employment was the responsibility of the hospitals and that the bureau would not be involved in hiring. The plan only aims to improve staff working conditions based on several aspects, including hospital evaluation and nursing quality indicators.

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