Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sorry no enough Minister Khaw

This is the third day after my first email to Ministry of Finance but I am still waiting for the reply. Ministry of Finance has an automatic reply which states that "We will get back to you in 3 working days or less depending on the complexity of your query/case." I really hope that my little request is not too complex for them and I believe that when the Minister of Finance made his claim in parliament, all details and statistics would have been made readily available for public scrutiny.

While we are waiting for Ministry of Finance reply, I would like to deal with other issues. But this time round, I will not deal with Mr. Mah's myth yet. I will deal with Mr. Khaw's Health Ministry.

Mr. Khaw has apologized publicly about the lack of hospital beds but we do not have a full clear picture how acute the problem is. I shall illustrate the seriousness of the problem here.

The following chart is for this illustration:
The above chart shows the percentage increase in population, demand of hospital care (admission to both public and private hospitals), supply of hospital beds (both public and private) and the supply of doctors and nurses.

The demand of hospital care has increased more than the increase of population growth. This is mainly due to the rapid aging population. Although the supply of doctors and nurses in public hospitals have increased more than the growth in population and hospital care demand, the bottle neck seems to be stuck at the supply of beds.

The Private hospitals have reacted to the increase in demand by increasing the both the number of beds, doctors and nurses. However, the public hospitals, under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and Mr. Khaw, has DECREASED the number of hospital beds during this period from 2003 to 2008!

Facing a INCREASE in demand and a DECREASE in supply of beds, no wonder Singaporeans are feeling desperate when their love ones are being deprived of beds when they are sent to the hospital on emergency need!

I have friends who have complained about waiting for more than 8 hours, some at 12 hours for a bed when their family members were sent to hospital during emergency. This is a matter of life and death!

The Ministry of Health has promised to build the Yishun Hospital way back in 2001 but it turned out to be BROKEN PROMISES. As I understand, they were supposed to build one hospital in the West, Jurong or Boon Lay, but turn out to be empty plan again. When they decided to build Yishun Hospital after GE 2006, they complained about high cost basically because due to the competition on resources by the construction of the two Casino resorts!

We are now seeing a distinctive pattern in this multi-millions PAP government. They have sat on the problems without doing anything to anticipate the impact due to the increase of population, which in turn due to their flawed liberal Foreign Talent policy.

As Singaporeans, we could tolerate congested public transport and even higher HDB flat prices. But I think there is a limit to our tolerance when the life and death of our love ones are threaten just because the PAP government, particularly the Ministry of Health, did not do their job in coping with the very liberal Foreign Talent policy that they have embarked on.

My message to Mr. Khaw is this, SORRY NO ENOUGH! This is a matter of life and death of Singaporeans. The hospitals have increased their billings on Singaporeans over the years without improving their quality of services, in terms of providing adequate hospital beds. I seriously hope Mr. Khaw get the message loud and clear. Please don't tell us to visit hospitals in JB or Malaysia. It would be a total shame for a self proclaim First World government not able to take care of its citizens' healthcare needs but to ask Singaporeans to depend on Third World countries to give them faster, cheaper and faster care.

Goh Meng Seng


cy said...

why did they reduce hospital beds when they are increasing doctors and nurses? makes no sense to me in contradictory actions.

to be fair to him, Lim Hng kiang was the minister from 2003 to 2004, so Lim should also take part of the blame.

sgcynic said...

What was the reason for the decrease in public hospital beds? From the table provided, the decrease took place between 2004 and 2006.

Paul said...

I think that the decline in hospital beds might have been related to changes in IMH structure.
After all, IMH is the largest public hospital by far.

Anonymous said...

The following was published in the Straits Times.

They might have to wait many hours in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department before a bed can be found. Or they are told that their non-urgent operation - for example, the removal of a cancer tumour or a hernia - may have to be deferred for weeks or even months.

Damien said...

Thanks for bringing out the statistics. I am alarmed to the figures and expect the government to explain why this had happened and what are their plans.

The total hospital beds has actually decreased 3 percent in 2003-2008 period while the total admission increased 22 percent (close to thr 18 percent increase in population). This seems to be a great mismatch in supply and demand. However, probably need to find out the utilization rate of the beds (average/peak) to have a complete understanding of the situation, i.e. not sure whether there could be a oversupply of beds in 2003?
Some of the questions to ask:
What was the rationale for the decision not to proceed with the proposed hospitals in Yishun and other areas?
If the high costs were a deterrent factor in building hospitals in the last few years, what were mitigations developed by the government? and how successful were they?
What is the government policy on the split of number of public and private hospital beds? How is it corelated to the demographics, income levels of the various groups of the population?

Anonymous said...

This is irrefutable evidence against a government that is more concerned about the bottom-line that public care.

This also reflects on the minister KBW and is consistent with his bottom-line approach all along.

By saying "sorry", he is also advertising that he has maximized hospital bed usage - very likely one of his KPIs.

Think about it. All his (NKF, means-testing, nursing/retirement homes in JB, proposed increased Medisave constributions, etc.) initiatives have a common thread.

Don't you guys see it?


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