NOTICE PAPER NO.1494
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 7 NOVEMBER 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim
MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC
Question No. 2372
To ask the Minister for Health in view of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and increasing costs of living, whether the Ministry will consider reinstating the subsidies at the Public Health Preparedness Clinics and polyclinics for the treatment of respiratory infections previously applicable before 1 July 2022.
The subsidies at Public Health Preparedness Clinics and polyclinics for the management of Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) were put in place during the early stages of the pandemic. This is to encourage persons who might be infected with COVID-19 to seek medical care promptly, so that cases can be detected quickly to prevent disease spread.
Almost three years on, we are living with COVID-19 as an endemic disease, with the virus circulating in our community. Vaccination has significantly reduced the risk of severe illness when infected. The original objective of the subsidies for the management of ARIs is less valid today.
Further, as we increasingly live with COVID-19, just as we step down safe management measures, we would similarly need to scale back the pandemic subsidy policy and revert back to the regular healthcare financing frameworks. Nevertheless, fully government-funded swabs and oral antivirals continue to be provided to eligible symptomatic patients. Residents with ARIs will also continue to enjoy prevailing subsidies at polyclinics or Community Health Assist Scheme general practitioner clinics.