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Gov't invests NT$250 mil. to improve nursing in country

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Executive Yuan yesterday approved the Ministry of Health and Welfare's (MHW) spending of NT$250 million on 200 nursing department students in the next four years to alleviate the lack of nursing personnel in rural and remote areas island-wide.

President Ma Ying-jeou in April 2013 attended a forum with Taiwan's nursing and care-givers groups, and after ordered the MHW to soon draft a project to improve nursing. After more than a year of planning the project, the Cabinet yesterday approved the MHW's plan.

Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that according to the MHW's statistics, the job vacancies for nursing experts in rural and remote areas stood at 7.9 percent in 2013, higher than the nation's average of 6.3 percent in the same year.

Sun said it is harder to recruit medical and nursing staff in hospitals and clinics in rural and remote areas, noting that the nation's medical state is always the government's priority.

Four Years, NT$250 million

The spokesman explained the project, saying that the government is expected to devote NT$250 million between 2015 and 2018 on the education of 200 college students. He said that after the students graduate they will be dispatched to work at 30 hospitals and clinics located in rural and remote areas, including outlying islets, aboriginal tribes in the mountains and hospitals that do not have enough resources coming in from national health insurance.

Sun further said that the government will not only offer subsidies on education, but will also offer a job guarantee for publicly funded students since they will have to serve in rural and remote areas for at least four years after graduation. Sun said the MHW in May 2012 carried out six objectives and 10 strategies to maintain local nursing experts, noting that the current total number of nurses in Taiwan currently is 144,883, 8,468 more compared to 2012.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) has requested that the MHW continue integrating the country's medical resources and drafting plans to attract medical and nursing staff to stay in remote and outlying areas, Sun said.

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