A right step to stem skill drain

THE Health Ministry’s decision to increase the compensation package for nurses in government hospitals by 30 per cent is a smart move. It shows the Ministry is waking up to the need for maintaining quality in healthcare. Quality cannot be attained without expertise. And expertise comes from experience, not from mere training. That is why measures to retain experience are considered a pillar of any corporate human resource policy.

By Talk Of The Town

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Published: Sat 2 Apr 2005, 9:46 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:57 PM

So long as the country cannot train enough nurses to meet its increasing healthcare needs, it will have to depend on expatriate staff. Therefore, it was a wise move to extend the pay rise given to national staff to expats also. This way, the country would be able to prevent flight of experience out of its borders. The opportunity cost involved in letting go of experienced staff is indeed high at a time when there is a premium on quality of services.

The decision also underscores the government’s acceptance of the importance of quality healthcare for a booming economy. Because production loss from illness of workforce could lower any economy’s efficiency, jeopardising its growth trajectory.

Indeed, it would be welcome for the country’s economy if this move in the healthcare sector portends a change of policy in other sectors also. Because the underlying logic is the same for all sectors of modern economy. That would not only prevent the drain of skills, but also attract better brains to the country. Infusion of talent is the sine qua non for the growth of any economy, especially one that is on a rapid expansion mode.

Therefore, we hope the other sectors would take the cue from the Health Ministry and act post haste to implement steps that would stop skill drain and attract talents from inside and outside the country’s borders.

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