NOTICE PAPER NO. 879
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 10 JANUARY 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Tan Wu Meng
MP for Jurong GRC
Question No. 1379
To ask the Minister for Health (a) since the onset of COVID-19, how many and what proportion of outsourced workers in patient-facing roles or patient care areas at public healthcare institutions have been diagnosed with COVID-19; (b) how does this risk profile compare with (i) workers with comparable job descriptions who are not outsourced and (ii) the overall cohort of workers in patient-facing roles or patient care areas at public healthcare institutions.
For direct hire doctors, the proportion infected  ranges from 1% to 2%, while for nurses it ranges from 2% to 4%. For outsourced doctors and nurses, the proportion infected is close to 0%.
For direct hire administrative and ancillary staff, the proportion infected ranges from 3% to 5%. For outsourced administrative and ancillary staff, the proportion infected ranges from 3% to 6%, with the exception of NUH, CGH, KTPH, and IMH  where the proportion infected among outsourced staff was higher, ranging from 7% to 10%. For these institutions, the higher proportion infected was largely due to disease clusters among housekeepers and maintenance staff. These are jobs that are predominantly outsourced, and there are very few workers in our institutions with comparable job descriptions.
In general, the risk of infection for cleaners and equivalent job roles such as housekeepers is higher than that of the general community due to the nature of their work such as removing rubbish and cleaning contaminated bedsheets. In addition, there was spread among housekeepers and maintenance staff due to lapses in compliance to safe management measures in staff rest areas. MOH has since worked with institutions to ensure appropriate use of personal protective equipment and reinforce safe management measures within the rest areas for staff in the public healthcare institutions.
1. Proportion of infected staff is calculated based on data from public acute hospitals only from 1 January 2020 to 30 December 2021.
2. Refers to National University Hospital (NUH), Changi General Hospital (CGH), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), and Institute of Mental Health (IMH).