Singapore Launches Generous Retention Scheme for Nurses Amid Healthcare Sector Reforms

nurses ANGEL

In a significant move to bolster the nursing workforce, Singapore’s Minister for Health, Ong Ye Kung, announced a new retention incentive scheme dubbed the Award for Nurses’ Grace, Excellence and Loyalty (ANGEL).

This groundbreaking initiative aims to reward approximately 29,000 nurses within the public healthcare system. They will offer up to S$100,000 over 20 years or until the prevailing retirement age, which is set to increase to 65 by 2030.

Addressing Attrition with Attractive Incentives

The ANGEL scheme was unveiled on February 20, 2024. It offers a tiered payout system to cater to nurses at different stages of their careers. Newly recruited nurses and those under 46 stand to receive between S$20,000 to S$30,000 every four to six years. In contrast, veteran nurses aged 46 and above, boasting at least five years of service, will be granted an immediate award ranging from S$5,000 to S$15,000. These seasoned professionals will then enjoy an accelerated payout path. They will receive S$15,000 every three years to acknowledge their long-standing commitment to the healthcare sector.

Moreover, the scheme extends to foreign nurses. They become eligible for the rewards after four years of service in Singapore’s public healthcare system. This underscoring the nation’s inclusive approach to healthcare professionals’ welfare.

Bolstering the Healthcare Workforce

This initiative arrives at a critical juncture as Singapore’s healthcare sector faces challenges in retaining nurses and allied healthcare professionals (AHPs). Recent statistics reveal a slight uptick in the attrition rates of AHPs in the public sector, from 8.9% in 2018 to 11.6% in 2022, highlighting the urgent need for effective retention strategies.

In response, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has engaged in concerted efforts to enhance the attractiveness of healthcare careers. These include significant salary enhancements for AHPs in 2023 and comprehensive support for salary improvements within the community care sector since 2021. These measures, coupled with the ANGEL scheme, underscore Singapore’s commitment to ensuring the sustainability and resilience of its healthcare workforce.

Supporting Continuous Growth and Development

Beyond retention, the MOH is focused on the continuous professional development of healthcare workers. The intake for AHP courses has nearly doubled over the last decade. Additionally, healthcare career conversion programmes facilitate mid-career switches for allied health professions. Such initiatives are crucial in meeting the evolving demands of Singapore’s ageing population and ensuring a robust healthcare ecosystem.

The Way Forward

Singapore’s innovative healthcare professional retention and development approach sets a benchmark for other nations grappling with similar challenges. By recognising the invaluable contributions of nurses and AHPs and addressing their needs through comprehensive schemes like ANGEL, Singapore aims to foster a motivated, skilled, and loyal healthcare workforce capable of meeting future demands.

Therefore, the success of these initiatives will be instrumental in shaping a resilient and responsive healthcare system. They will ensure the well-being of healthcare professionals and the communities they serve.

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