Cabinet OKs 12-point program to address nurse shortage
Taipei, Sept. 28 (CNA) The Executive Yuan on Thursday approved a 12-point incentive program aimed at raising the number of nurses nationwide by providing higher salaries and a sound environment to address an acute workforce shortage.
The program, which includes retention and night shift incentives, fostering more nursing personnel, an overhauling of the working environment and implementing a standard 3-1 nurse-to-patient ratio per shift, was approved during the Cabinet's weekly meeting.
The incentives, which will be funded by Taiwan's National Health Insurance program, will cost around NT$18 billion (US$558 million) per year, and are expected to help recruit an additional 67,000-78,000 nurses a year from 2024-2030, health ministry officials reported at the meeting.
In 2023, there are 186,000 nurses practicing across Taiwan, which constitutes a workforce gap of between 55,000 and 74,000, according to the ministry.
Under the program, the ministry will also provide extra incentives for nurses working on the night shift -- NT$400-NT$600 per shift for the evening shift and NT$600-NT$1,000 for the midnight shift.
Based on the scheme, which was estimated to require a budget of NT$4.3 billion annually, nurses working on the evening shift 20 days a month could earn NT$8,000-NT$12,000 more, while those on the midnight shift could receive NT$12,000-NT$20,000 more.
The ministry came up with the program one day after Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), the contender of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in the January presidential election, called for higher salaries and a friendly work environment for nursing staff, in particular, those working on the evening and graveyard shifts.
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