New Health Minister, Mr Gan Kim Yong, has announced that his ministry will be conducting a thorough health policy review to address the many challenges confronting Singaporeans today and in the near future.
Singapore has managed to cap national health-care spending at 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and still achieve high standards of health care compared with the United States, which spends 16% of its GDP on health care. However, as the population ages, it is inevitable that more resources need to be channelled to beef up the health care services in Singapore.
Compared to other industries such as air transportation and tourism where there are always bold forward planning with sufficient spare capacity built in to meet the rapid rise in demand, the healthcare sector, ironically often lacks behind in meeting such needs, resulting in long waiting times at clinics, A&E departments and near full occupancy for hospital beds. We need to work quickly, boldly and decisively in manpower, infrastructural and medical research developments so that we can better manage the silver tsunami that will engulf us in the next few decades.
Affordabilty of healthcare is something close to the hearts of many Singaporeans. Will we have sufficient medisave to pay for our medical expenses in our old age? Are the subsidies sufficient, especially for the lower-income families?
Being in the GPC for Health for the coming term, I will help raise health-care related issues in Parliament. I would welcome suggestions from Singaporeans on how to make our healthcare system better, more accessible and more affordable.