- POSTED: 29 May 2014 15:36
More than 2,000 foreign nurses have benefited from language courses between 2009 and 2013, said Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.
SINGAPORE: More than 2,000 foreign nurses have benefited from language courses between 2009 and 2013, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said in Parliament on Thursday (May 29).
The Health Ministry provides the public health care institutions with a training fund to support foreign nurses in enrolling for language courses, Dr Faishal said in response to a question by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong.
"About 35 per cent of foreign staff recruited in the last five years participated in at least one language programme. Some of the foreign staff are Malaysians or have been in Singapore for some time and are already familiar with our language and culture, and therefore may not need to attend such programmes," he said.
Dr Faishal also shared that pictorial guides are available in public healthcare institutions to help staff in their communication with patients. A mix of local and foreign healthcare staff is rostered on each shift, while in some institutions, foreign staff may also partner colleagues who speak the language of the patient, if necessary.
With these measures in place, the risk of miscommunication is reduced. As such, only a few public healthcare institutions have assessed that it is necessary to employ interpreters for local languages, he said.