The Real Singapore
I refer to the article “Hospitals facing severe bed crunch take unusual steps” (Straits Times, Jan 8).
Severe shortage of hospital beds?
It states that “Changi General Hospital (CGH), which has 800 beds, started housing patients waiting for beds in a large air-conditioned tent this week.
The 1,200-bed Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), meanwhile, has been forced to set up 49 beds along the corridors of its wards to cope with the demand.
Dr Lee Chien Earn, CGH’s chief executive officer, told The Straits Times: “Our bed occupancy rate has crossed 100 per cent for certain periods over the past month and some patients have waited more than 24 hours for an inpatient bed.”
This is despite CGH already renting a ward from Parkway East Hospital and the next-door St Andrew’s Community Hospital.
Mr Liak Teng Lit, head of Alexandra Health which runs KTPH, said: “Every day, we have to make decisions regarding our 500 patients. Those who are not so sick are discharged to make way for the 50 to 60 patients waiting for a bed.”
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said last night that he was aware of the problem – hence, the push to add 1,900 more acute hospital beds and 2,600 community hospital beds by 2020.
He added: “The hospitals have also implemented various measures to alleviate the bed crunch.
“CGH has set up a nine-bed Short Stay Unit and expanded its observation ward from 12 to 20 beds at the Emergency Department and also set up an Admission Transit Area for patients who are waiting for a bed in the ward.””
The obvious reason?
In my opinion, the obvious reason for the beds’ crunch, may to the best of my knowledge, has never been highlighted in the media – that the total number of hospital beds in Singapore has seen zero increase over at least the last 12 years or so, despite an increase in the population by more than 1 million.
$0 spending on healthcare?
This should be unacceptable – given that from a cashflow perspective – the Government does not spend a single cent on healthcare.
How long has this zero spending on healthcare been going on?
Leong Sze Hian
*Leong is the Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, an alumnus of Harvard University, has authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been host of a money radio show, a daily newspaper column, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for Malaysiakini, executive producer of the movie Ilo Ilo (24 international awards). He has served as Honorary Consul of Jamaica and founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Brunei and Indonesia. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors and 13 professional qualifications