With the arrival of new clinics and recruitment in the public service, the shortage of employees in private health is becoming more and more “increased”. How are the clinics dealing with the situation? Point.
300 to 400. This is the number of health care assistants and nurses that the private health sector can currently absorb. This is indicated by Dr. Dawood Oaris, president of the association of private clinics and director of the Chisty Shifa clinic. He says labor shortages at all levels have been felt for several years, but he now calls it an “alarming situation”.
“We are facing a growing shortage of employees in the medical, paramedical and administrative professions,” he says. According to him, a clinic can have the best doctors, but if it does not have enough paramedic employees, the service will not be complete. According to him, the situation has worsened with the arrival of new clinics and mass recruitment into the civil service. “Existing clinics are losing their highly qualified employees, while it is difficult to attract new talent,” adds our interlocutor.
The C-Care Mauritius group, comprising four clinics (C-Care Welkin, C-Care Tamarin, C-Care Grand Baie, Fortis Clinique Darné) as well as a network of laboratories across the island, employs approximately 1,800 people at Mauritius, of which 8% are expatriates. “These foreign workers come from different countries, mainly from India, Madagascar, the Philippines, Europe and other countries on the African continent,” says Annabelle Lonborg-Nielsen, Chief People & Continuous Improvement Officer of the group.
According to her, the situation in the medical sector is tense. “This indeed reflects a global reality also affecting Mauritius. The health sector, including the nursing profession, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic,” she says. “The health crisis has led to the departure of many nurses from the profession, thus creating an imbalance between the supply and demand for labor in the field of health”, she adds.
To date, the Bon Pasteur clinic has 220 employees, including ten expatriates. According to Nicolas Tadebois, Operations & New Projects Director of the clinic, the problem of the lack of manpower will only increase, whatever our actions. “The health professions no longer attract as much as before, because the new generation aspires to a better quality of life, which is not always compatible with these professions”, he points out.
Mauritians solicited abroad
Nicholas Tadebois points out that developed countries also face the serious problem of shortage of manpower in the medical sector. “These nations are recruiting globally, including in Mauritius. We are thus immersed in an international market where resources are scarce and demand is high, with developed countries offering much more attractive salaries and prospects than Mauritius,” he explains. According to him, recruitment is changing rapidly. “We have employees who signed a contract with foreign recruiters in a week and left the country in a month,” he adds.
Ravish Pothegadoo, director of the recruitment agency Talent On Tap, confirms the statements of Nicholas Tadebois. According to him, Mauritians are still sought mainly in England, Australia and Canada for positions as nurses, orderlies, cleaners and waiters. “Mauritians are not only asked to work in hospitals/clinics, but also in residences for the elderly,” he says. Our interlocutor points out that the World Health Organization predicts a global labor shortage of around 18 million workers in the health sector by 2030.
In order to resolve the shortage of workers in the medical sector, Nicholas Tadebois points out that joint reflection (bringing together the private sector and the government) is needed to develop a medium and long-term strategy. “I think training would be a key part of that strategy. Polytechnics Mauritius is a strong commendable initiative of our leaders which is going in the right direction,” he says. According to him, collaboration with private training institutes is another avenue that could be considered. “Scholarships and the validation of the achievements of our caregivers are subjects to be discussed as well,” he adds.
Annabelle Lonborg-Nielsen insists on the importance of promoting paramedical careers to make them attractive to young people. “Currently, only doctors enjoy a high status in Mauritius, but it is crucial to recognize the importance of all health actors, because the well-being of patients depends as much on the rest of the medical staff”, underlines- she. This, she says, can be done by investing in training.
Furthermore, she believes that the quality of the education system must be improved so that it is able to train professionals to meet the needs of the health sector in Mauritius. “This involves adapting training programs according to local demands and offering career opportunities abroad for those who wish. The objective is to guarantee that the supply of health professionals is sufficient to cover local needs”, recommends our interlocutor.
For his part, Dr. Dawood Oaris points out that the Nursing School in Mauritius focuses exclusively on the training of public sector employees. “Training could be extended to the private sector as well,” he adds.
Use of foreign labor
Nicholas Tadebois believes that, for the time being, there is no other choice but to call on foreign labour. He believes that the authorities must simplify and make transparent the administrative procedures. “Waiting for more than six long months to obtain a work and residence permit is simply not viable when we are in competition with foreign countries for the recruitment of medical personnel”, he is indignant.
He points out that such expectations can be a real obstacle in the race to attract qualified health professionals, but says he took note in the budget that things will be simplified. “That’s all I hope for,” he said.
Annabelle Lonborg-Nielsen agrees. “Fiscal measures could be put in place to speed up the permit and visa process for foreign professionals, as its current slowness may deter future employees who prefer to seek opportunities elsewhere in countries offering faster and simpler procedures,” she points out.
Dr. Dawood Oaris believes that thanks to the new financial bill, it is now possible to recruit a foreign nurse for a fee of Rs 30,000, while previously it took almost double this sum.
Job opportunities: these clinics that are recruiting
Clinique Bon Pasteur: twenty positions to be filled
Nicolas Tadebois of the Clinique Bon Pasteur affirms that the number of current employees makes it possible to ensure the service. “However, given the growing number of departures with the recruitment of new clinics and public hospitals, we are constantly looking for new candidates to fill vacant positions,” he says. Currently, the clinic has about twenty vacancies. “We are looking for nurses, block nurses, midwives and nursing assistants,” he says.
C-Care: looking for some 60 nurses
In the clinics of the C-Care group, there are currently vacancies for around sixty nurses. “We are actively seeking dedicated and competent professionals to join our medical and paramedical team. These nurses play an essential role in the delivery of health care,” says Annabelle Lonborg-Nielsen.
Chisty Shifa Clinic: recruitment is still ongoing
Dr. Dawood Oaris says that given the increased labor shortage in the sector, his clinic is always looking for candidates. “We still need health care aides, qualified nurses, laboratory workers and administrative workers, among others,” he says.