Total hospital beds decreased last decade?

Published by The Online Citizen on August 30, 2012

By Leong Sze Hian –

I refer to the July/August 2012 issue of Petir.

Ensure adequate healthcare capacity?

The Editorial states that
“Increase healthcare capacity
First, we need to ensure adequate capacity. The Government has announced plans to significantly increase the capacity of our healthcare services and invest in our healthcare workers to ensure Singaporeans can get the treatment they need.
Our population is ageing. Almost 90 per cent of the increase in inpatient load in our public hospitals over the last 10 years came from elderly patients. By 2020, we will add 1,900 beds to our acute hospitals, and 1,800 beds to our community hospitals. We will also add 6,600 beds to our nursing homes to cater to the needs of our ageing population”.

In this connection, I would like to refer to the opening of Fortis Colorectal Hospital, which is Singapore’s smallest and newest hospital, with 31 beds (“Why can’t we just get along?” (Straits Times, Aug 10).

In this connection, according to the Department of Statistics’ Yearbook of Statistics 2012, the total number of hospital beds in Singapore declined from 11,936 in 2001 to 11,394 in 2011, although the number of hospitals increased from 29 to 30.
Increase in hospital admissions

The number of hospital admissions increased from 384,054 to 469,445.
Increase in medical tourists

Medical tourism has also increased to about 850,000 medical tourists a year now.
Population increase by 1.1 m

Against this, there was an increase in the population from 4.1 to 5.2 million over the same period.
Shortage of hospital beds

This may explain the recent spate of letters and media reports about the shortage of hospital beds and longer waiting times in public hospitals.

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.