I refer to the article “Singapore Budget 2014: Hospital bed crunch comes under fire” (Straits Times, Mar 12).
It states that “Responding, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong stressed that building capacity has been a key focus of Singapore’s health-care policy. From 2003 to 2013, beds in public acute and community hospitals as well as in nursing homes increased by over 30 per cent, he said.”
According to the Department of Statistics (DOS) – the number of total hospital beds decreased from 11,936 in 2001 to 11,394 in 2011. According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) web site – the total number of hospital beds was 10,755 in 2012.
From the above statistics, the total number of hospital beds actually decreased by about 10% against a 1.2 million increase in the population, from 2001 to 2012.
So, how is it that the reply in Parliament said that hospital beds increased by over 30 per cent from 2003 to 2013?
Well, I believe the reply was referring to hospital beds including beds in nursing homes. You will note the statistics cited all these years by the Department of Statistics and the Ministry of Health’s web site – refers to total hospital beds (which do not include nursing homes).
A third world reply in a first world Parliament with reporting by a media that has just dropped a notch in its Press Freedom ranking to 150th in the world!
Leong Sze Hian