One of the highlights of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day speech assured Singaporeans of the government’s plans to make high quality healthcare accessible to everyone. He mentioned this because Singaporeans are living longer lives, and are therefore more likely to need medical treatment in their latter years.
The Prime Minister announced changes that have been implemented in the healthcare system, including an upgrade to MediShield, subsidies under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), and most especially, the building of more polyclinics across the whole of Singapore, in order to accommodate more patients.
He said, “For those who visit the polyclinic instead of the GP, I have good news too. MOH has been building and upgrading polyclinics and medical centres across the island.” He mentioned that a new polyclinic has been built at Ang Mo Kio, and more clinics are planned at Sembawang, Eunos, Kallang, Bukit Panjang, Nee Soon Central and Tampines North, saying, “Some of these are to upgrade and improve existing ones. And we will make sure there are affordable, accessible, high quality primary care all over Singapore.”
Doctors welcome the government plan for more polyclinics, since there have been an increasing number of polyclinic visits in the past two years. More than a million more Singaporeans have visited polyclinics between the years of 2015 and 2017.
There are three chronic conditions that are high on the list of commonly treated ailments in polyclinics, which are high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure-related ailments. These conditions make for more than a third of all diagnoses done.
A healthcare sector leader at Deloitte Southeast Asia, Dr Loke Wai Chiong, believes that building more polyclinics is a step in the right direction since they are more convenient and affordable than other healthcare options.
He also lauded the subsidies that make health care in public clinics and hospitals more accessible and affordable for people.
Like him, Drs. John Cheng and MP Lily Neo, who have observed that since there are more Chas cardholders, more people are seeking healthcare than before.