The alarming rate of nurse resignations from state-run hospitals has prompted calls for the new government to implement more effective ways to retain as many nurses as possible within the country’s state-run healthcare system.
Every year, approximately 10,000 new nurses graduate in Thailand, yet a staggering 7,000 of them leave their positions in state-run hospitals due to overwhelming workloads and insufficient compensation for overtime, as reported by the nurses’ union and Nurses Connect.
Suwimol Namkanisorn, a representative of the nurse’s union and Nurses Connect, expressed concern over the high rate of new nurses resigning within their first year of work, which has now reached an alarming 48.9%. She stressed the importance of implementing measures to retain nurses in the state-run healthcare system rather than increasing the number of new nurses.
Suwimol stated that nurses are currently working an average of 80 hours per week, surpassing the maximum limit of 60 hours set by the Thailand Nursing and Midwifery Council. She stressed that, as more nurses continue to resign, the workload for the remaining nurses intensifies, as the total number of working hours used to be around 48 hours per week.
In light of these challenges, Suwimol called upon the new public health minister to gradually reduce the average working hours of nurses at hospitals under the Ministry of Public Health’s jurisdiction from 80 to approximately 60 hours per week. She also urged the new government to address overtime pay disparities, pointing out that nurses working for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) currently earn 1,200 baht per eight-hour shift, whereas those working for the ministry earn only between 650 and 800 baht per shift.
Suwimol noted that, by implementing effective methods to reduce workloads and offer suitable remuneration, nurses will be encouraged to remain in the state-run healthcare system, ensuring that the public has efficient access to health services.