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Address root cause of crunch at hospitals, not just add more beds and staff

We refer to the commentary by senior health correspondent Salma Khalik (Address root cause of crunch at hospitals, not just add more beds and staff, Dec 5).

The key root cause of increasing demand for inpatient care has been our rapidly ageing population. More seniors are presenting with complex chronic medical conditions requiring specialist care. The incidence of frailty and age-related conditions like strokes, heart attacks and falls leading to hip fractures has also risen. 

The situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which drove higher patient numbers and delayed the opening of new hospitals.

To tackle this long-term root cause, we have embarked on Healthier SG, a national strategic shift in healthcare, to help our population stay healthy. Under Healthier SG, the development of primary and community care is key.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health has deployed multiple care models to right-site patients, while ensuring they receive appropriate care. These new care models, including those suggested by Ms Khalik, are being integrated into mainstream care.

It will take us some time to implement this comprehensive suite of capacity and systemic measures. Together with the planned increase in the number of beds, they will enable us to meet our nation’s healthcare needs in the years ahead.

Goh Khean Teik (Dr)
Director, Hospital Services Division
Ministry of Health

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