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Healthcare: 4 nails in the coffin?

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By: Leong Sze Hian

I  refer to the article “Record jumps in hospital, clinic attendance last year” (Straits  Times, Oct 16).

“Hospital admissions increased by a record 9 per cent last year compared with 2015. This is more than double the annual increases of up to 4 per cent in the past decade. Similarly, polyclinic attendance rose by 8 per cent over 2015 – eclipsing the annual increases of 0.2 per cent to 4.9 per cent since 2007. Attendance at specialist outpatient clinics at public hospitals also spiked 5 per cent – the highest annual increase in a decade.
Of the 555,284 hospital admissions last year, 425,691 were in public hospitals, with more than a third being patients above the age of 65 years. The 8 per cent spike in patient visits at polyclinics saw the number of such visits hitting 5.3 million – almost 400,000 more than in 2015. This is despite the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) subsidy that about half the population is entitled to when treated at a general practice (GP) clinic.
The spokesman added: “MOH has redoubled efforts to keep healthcare sustainable and to meet the needs of our population.”

The 1st  nail in the healthcare  coffin?

S’pore’s hospital beds increased 2.8% from 2001 to 2016?

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In this connection, the number of total hospital beds in Singapore was 11,936 in 2001 and only increased by about 2.8 per cent to 12,268 (12,268 divided by 11,936 beds) from 2001 to 2016.

Population increased 37% by 1.51m?

Against this, the population has increased by 37 per cent from 4.1 million in 2001 to 5.61 million in June 2016.

The  2nd  nail  in the healthcare coffin?

Singapore’s public healthcare  spending as a percentage of GDP, at just about 2.5 per cent ($9.8 divided by $400 billion), is probably the lowest in the world.

“Singapore’s workers contribute” up to 10.5 “percent of their wages to mandated savings accounts (Medisave account) that may be spent on health care” and “insurance””.

The  3rd nail  in the healthcare coffin?

Singapore workers contribute” up to 10.5 “percent of their wages to mandated savings accounts (Medisave account) that may be spent on health care” and “insurance””.

This is I believe is in a sense from a cashflow perspective – probably the highest national health insurance contribution (pre-pay basis) in the world.

The  4th  nail  in the healthcare coffin?

From a cashflow perspective – the Government  may still not be spending a single cent on healthcare, as total annual Medisave contributions plus the annual interest on total Medisave accounts’ balances may exceed total annual government spending on healthcare and withdrawals for medical expenses and insurance premiums.

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