MAHSA! Do not hoodwink the public!

Nurse Employment Level, 2012-2015

27 February 2012

The PSM is very disappointed with the full page advertisement taken out by MAHSA University College in Sunday Star 19/2/2012. The assurances given by MAHSA’s Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Tan Sri Dato Seri Dr Haji Mohd Ismail Merican, who was until quite recently the Director General of the Ministry of Health, are misleading, to say the least.

The PSM would like to ask whether MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor know the following facts –

  • that as of December 2010, there were a total of 69,110 staff-nurses working in Malaysia – 47,992 in the government sector and 21,118 in the private sector;
  • In 2010, there were a total of 37,302 students pursuing Nursing Diploma courses in the private colleges and universities. Approximately 12,000 will graduate every year.  
  • The Ministry of Health does not recruit a large number of nursing graduates from Private Colleges to work as staff nurses in the Ministry of Health. In the 5 years from 2006 till 2010, only 993 graduates from private nursing colleges were offered jobs by the government. Works out to less than 200 per year.
  • Nursing Sisters tell us that they need to replace about 7% of the nurses working in their institution every year. 7% of 21,118 works out to 1478 vacancies in the private sector every year.
  • Elementary mathematics would inform us that 12,000 – 200 – 1478 =  10,322 nursing graduates will not find placements as nurses each year for the next few years!

If MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor are not aware of these facts, which all represent answers to questions put in Parliament, then MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor are being highly irresponsible in taking out a full-page advertisement to entice more parents to send their children to a course where there is now a gross over-supply. If on the other hand, MAHSA and its Pro-Chancellor issued that full-page statement despite knowing these facts, then their action crosses the line demarcating  “irresponsible” from “despicable”!  

The learned Pro-Chancellor’s statement (in the 4th paragraph from the end) that Malaysia needs thousands  more nurses to achieve a 1:200 ratio which is the WHO criteria for a developed nation, reveals extremely muddled thinking or is a cynical attempt to mislead people! That assertion seems to imply that MAHSA is contributing to Malaysia becoming a developed nation by training more nurses! Surely Tan Sri Pro-Chancellor, you, the former DG of Health must understand the difference between correlation and causation. Developed countries have higher nurse to population ratios but is that the factor that made them developed in the first place? Advanced countries have more institutions and programmes that require nurses for example the home-nursing programme, the palliative care programme, nurse counselors for a large number of chronic ailments such as diabetes, stroke, Parkinsonism, etc . Merely training more nurses would not somehow, magically, propel Malaysia into becoming an advanced country!

Lets face facts Tan Sri Pro Chancellor - MAHSA and the other private colleges are taking on an excess of nursing students because these colleges can earn an average of RM 25,000 from the PTPTN loan that the Ministry of Higher Education unquestioningly approves for each of the students registered in your programme. This is the main motivating factor for your nurse training programme, and not nationalistic altruism!

The PSM knows of a number of nursing diploma graduates from MAHSA University College who have not been able to find jobs as nurses in a hospital setting. Is MAHSA prepared to help them secure nursing jobs in Hospitals. And if unable to, is MAHSA prepared to take over re-payment of the PTPN loans that these poor girls are saddled with? Do let us know when, and we will bring these unemployed MAHSA graduates to your office.

And until you can solve the employment problem faced by MAHSA graduates, the only decent thing you and MAHSA can do is to stop taking in any more students for your Diploma of Nursing course!

Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj
PSM Central Committee member