Sometimes, MPs add a little something extra to their Parliament speeches. Yesterday, Labour MP Patrick Tay did just that, by spilling some insights about the healthcare sector promptly after he ended his Budget Debate 2018 speech.
What makes Patrick Tay qualified to speak about the healthcare sector?
Well according to his LinkedIn profile, Patrick Tay was Executive Secretary of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU) for 8 years from 2006 to 2014, and is still an Adviser with them.
HSEU has the legal mandate to represent healthcare workers (both nursing and non-nursing) in Singapore.
Patrick Tay also heads the NTUC Future Jobs, Skills and Training (FJST) that studies the skills and jobs in demand for the healthcare sector, amongst other sectors.
What did he say about the healthcare sector (and nursing)?
Salary scales have been reviewed on several occasions
If you wanna know more, his blogpost on healthcare sector states:
By 2014, wages of lower wage public healthcare workers were raised by about 15% with the introduction of the progressive wage model from 2012.
Through HSEU and MOH’s efforts, nursing salaries were further increased in 2014 and 2015, and career advancement opportunities were enhanced with the introduction of the Assistant Nurse Clinician role.
He spilled how union even had heated bargaining with employers to raise wages. Of course the average person won’t see this because it’s behind closed doors where the union and employers will thrash it out.
If you’re curious what HSEU collectively bargains for healthcare employees (e.g. Salary scales, bonuses, annual increments and benefits), go and check out their Collective Agreements, aka legal agreements between union and employer on what employees get.
Improving career conditions and progression
With the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) , Sectoral Manpower Plan (SMP), Progressive Wage Model (PWM) and whatever other acronyms you sometimes hear in the news, basically the tripartite partners (government, Labour Movement, employers) have been working out a standardised career pathway, skills framework etc for working people for the past decade.
Jobs have been redesigned, tech implemented within healthcare sector to improve productivity and wages, implementation of a flexi-wage system and competency-based hiring and progression framework etc.
The union is also in the midst of developing the National Recognised Skills Framework along with MOH and SSG for the following Healthcare Professions:
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech Therapists
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Patient Service Associates
You can see an overview of progression opportunities here.
ICMYI, there’s a healthcare unionist K. Thanaletchimi who also spoke up in Parliament for healthcare workers, together with Patrick Tay.
These unionists are the ones who do the hard work hearing the workers’ feedback, collectively bargaining with employers and working with government to make the sector better.
There’s still a lot of work to be done by the tripartite partners, to help healthcare employees not only have better careers and wages, but also a safe working environment, fulfilling jobs, future-ready skills and being valued by the people they work with.
But then again, you most likely won’t see a big chunk of this behind-the-scenes work unless you’re heavily involved in the sector.