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SINGAPORE    High & Low Tides


    Health:  Hospitals


Raffles Hospital in North Bridge Road. Circa 2005

Flowers & Gifts      Health     Clinics

     Alexandra Hospital

Nestled in the central-western area of Singapore, Alexandra Hospital is a five-minute drive from the nearest MRT station. It is a 400-bed general and acute care hospital, offering its patients the very best in personalized care and a tranquil, healing environment. This garden hospital of Alexandra Hospital today is a far cry from what it was 66 years ago Ė in 1938. Tel: (65) 6472 2000 Fax: (65) 6379 3880

     Changi General Hospital

CGH offers a comprehensive range of medical and paramedical services. The hospitalís motto, "Caring For The Community In The East" encapsulates Changi General Hospitalís (CGH)'s long-term objective to serve as a healthcare hub in the east. Mainline - General Enquiry (24 hrs) 6788 8833: Fax: 6788 0933

     KK Women's & Children's Hospital

KK Women's and Children's Hospital, or simply KKH, is the largest medical facility in Singapore which provides specialised care in the areas of obstetrics and gynaecology, neonatalogy and paediatrics. Tel: 6293 4044 Fax: 6293 7933

     Mount Alvernia Hospital

Mount Alvernia Hospital, Singapore, is a not-for-profit private hospital. They are a 303-bedded secondary acute care hospital catering to medical, surgical, paediatric and maternity cases.  As a missionary hospital, they are committed to providing quality and affordable healthcare to the general population.  A portion of their  operating surplus is also used to fund community outreach projects, like Assisi Home & Hospice. Their main hospital contact number is: 6347-6688 and their fax number is: 6255-6303.

     National University Hospital

With 21 clinical, 3 dental and 6 paramedical departments, as well as numerous specialist outpatient clinics and specialised service centres, NUH has a comprehensive range of services available to meet the growing needs of its patients. It also has a pool of more than 3000 professional staff providing round-the-clock personalised care to our patients every day of the year. Tel: (65) 6779 5555
Fax: (65) 6779 5678 Email:

     Raffles Hospital

Raffles Hospital is a 380-bed tertiary care private hospital offering a full complement of specialist services using the most advanced medical technology. Call Centre Tel: (65) 6311 1111
Fax: (65) 6311 2136

     Singapore General Hospital

SGH is Singapore's oldest and largest acute tertiary hospital and national referral centre. With about 1,400 beds and a pool of over 500 specialists, SGH accounts for about a quarter of the total acute hospital beds in the public sector and about one-fifth of acute beds nationwide. Tel: 6222 3322 Fax: 6224 9221

     Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), established in 1844, is the second largest hospital in Singapore, with specialty centres in Rehabilitation Medicine and Communicable Diseases. The hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and medical equipment, as well as the latest communication and information technology tools. Tel : 6256 6011 Fax : 6256 7282


    Singapore Websites

    Government polyclinics, hospitals & national health centres

    Nursing Homes

    Home Nursing/Medical Services





     - HOTA Bill - working out safeguards

     -  Further Medisave Liberalisation



Proposed amendments to the Human Organ Transplant Act

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is proposing three amendments to the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). They are:
(a) Lift the upper age limit for cadaveric organ donation;
(b) Allow donor-recipient paired matching for exchanges of organs; and
(c) Compensate living donors according to international ethical practices.



MOH to recognise more foreign dental degrees

From 1 January 2008, all dental schools accredited by the American Dental Association and the Canadian Dental Association will be added to the Schedule of the Dental Registration Act.
The addition of 48 American dental schools and 7 Canadian dental schools will increase the number of recognised foreign dental schools in the Schedule from the current 34 to 89. The list of new and current dental schools can be found in Annex A...





Reduced hospital subsidies for non-citizens

From January 1, 2008, non-PR foreigners will not receive any healthcare subsidy. PRs will continue to be subsidised for hospital services, but at 5 percentage points less than citizens.
From July 1, 2008, another 5 percentage-point reduction will be applied...



Electronic Medical Records Exchange extended to community hospitals

By the first quarter of 2008, over 4000 patients yearly at the community hospitals will be able to enjoy better patient care, improved drug safety, fewer repeat tests and hence lower costs with the extension of the Electronic Medical Records Exchange (EMRX)...
The extension marks the first step in the Ministry of Health's plans to extend the EMRX beyond the public sector...



MOH advise public to discard chocolate cakes from Prima Deli

MOH and theAgri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) conducted joint inspections of Prima Food Pte Ltd which produces the chocolate cakes for all Prima Deli retail outlets.
Food and environmental samples were taken for laboratory analysis. Preliminary results on 03 December 2007 for the food samples are suggestive of Salmonella as the likely causative agent...
As at 03 December 2007, there were a total of 106 cases including six hospitalised cases, all of whom have been discharged. Six cases tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis. The last case had onset of illness on 26 November 2007.



HIV cases on the rise in 2007

Out of the164 Singaporeans detected to be HIV infected in the first six months, about 93% of the new cases detected this year were males and 7% were females.
Sexual transmission remains the main mode of HIV transmission among Singaporeans.  Of the 164 cases reported in the first 6 months of 2007, 155 cases acquired the infection through the sexual route, with heterosexual transmission accounting for 67% of infections, homosexual transmission 24% and bisexual transmission 3%.  Intravenous drug use (4 cases) accounted for 2%...



National Registry Of Diseases Bill passed

Part II of the Bill establishes the National Registry of Diseases and sets out its functions.  These include the collection of information on reportable diseases, establishment of registers, compilation and publication of statistics, and the provision of information for supporting health services and national public health policies...
Clause 6, in Part III of the Bill, makes the notification of reportable diseases mandatory for managers of all healthcare institutions.  The burden is placed on the manager as he has the management and control of the institution.  Very limited data will be required to make a notification...



MOH starts inquiry into Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre

As the general review into Ren Ciís past transactions also disclosed other gaps in corporate governance and internal controls, MOH commissioned EYA to carry out a more in-depth evaluation.
The follow-up reviews have since identified some possible irregularities in certain financial transactions involving Ren Ci and certain external organisations. Hence, MOH is commencing an Inquiry into Ren Ci to establish a fuller and better understanding of these irregularities...



MediShield coverage for newborns and youths in Singapore

From 1 December 2007, all newborn Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) will be offered MediShield coverage on an opt-out basis.
From mid-2008, the Ministry of Health will also facilitate coverage for Singaporean and PR youths...



New governance structure for NUH and NUS School of Medicine

MOE and MOH have jointly agreed for NUS and NHG to establish a new governance structure for the NUS School of Medicine (NUS-SoM) and the National University Hospital (NUH)...
Under the new governance structure, NUH and NUS-SoM will be repositioned as a joint operating entity. This new NUH-SoM entity will be governed by one Governing Board which will include senior members from NHG, NUS, MOH and MOE...



New 550-bed Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

MOH is building a regional hospital in Yishun to better serve residents from the Northern region of Singapore. Spanning over 3.4 hectares, the 550-bed hospital will offer a comprehensive range of medical and healthcare services.
The new public sector hospital will be named Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, following the promise of a donation of $125 million from the family of the late banker and philanthropist Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat...



Medical devices in Singapore to be regulated

HSA is adopting a phased approach in implementing the new regulations to minimise the impact to the supply of medical devices and to provide sufficient time for the industry to meet the new standards and requirements. The control measures will be implemented in three phases, starting from 1 November 2007:..



Proposed amendments to the Infectious Diseases Act

Therefore, we propose to amend the IDA to empower the Director of Medical Services (DMS) to obtain left-over samples, and send them for the tests and examinations for the purpose of monitoring the infectious disease situation in Singapore...
The Ministry proposes to expand the IDA to empower DMS to close any premises as non-food establishments may also be the source of an outbreak...
We propose to amend the IDA so that when required, the DMS may require medical practitioners as well as other categories of health care workers (e.g. TCM practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, etc.) to obtain disease related information from their patients...
MOH proposes to expand the IDA to address the situation where an individual who, although unaware that he is HIV-positive, has reason to believe that he has been exposed to the risk of contracting HIV or AIDS (e.g. by having unprotected casual sex with multiple partners)...



159 Foreign Medical Schools recognised in Singapore

The Ministry of Health and the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) will be including an additional 19 leading international medical schools to the Schedule of the Medical Registration Act with effect from 1st October 2007...
Included are 6 medical schools from China, 4 from India, 4 from Japan, 2 from Taiwan and 1 from South Korea. 2 more medical schools from Europe have also been added...
Singaporeans graduating from any of the 159 international medical schools can also come back to Singapore, to supplement the number graduating from our own medical schools...



Rapid HIV testing now available in medical clinics

"As of 1 Aug 2007, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is allowing HIV testing with rapid HIV test kits to be offered in medical clinics. Rapid HIV tests are screening tests that produce very quick results, in approximately 20 minutes...
"Rapid HIV testing can only be conducted in a medical clinic by trained clinic personnel, and only clinics which have participated in an MOH training workshop on Rapid HIV Testing are allowed to offer rapid HIV testing..."



Two new specialty centres for cancer and heart disease

MOH is setting up two new specialty centres for cancer and heart disease at the National University Hospital to meet the rising demand for tertiary care in these specialties...
Cancer and heart disease are the top two killers, with cancer taking 4000 lives in Singapore each year. They will remain the major causes of death and morbidity. New cancer cases are projected to increase from 9,000 per year to 13,000 by 2015. For cardiology, outpatient attendances are projected to grow from 200,000 per year to 320,000 by 2015. We must ramp up our capacity and capabilities to meet this rapidly growing demand...



Proposed amendments to the Human Organ Transplant Act

"Following the recent ruling by the Fatwa Committee of MUIS that Muslims can be included under the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA), the Ministry of Health intends to amend HOTA to improve the access of Muslim patients to donated organs...
"MOH proposes to amend the HOTA to include, upon death, Muslims who are Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PR) between the ages of 21 and 60 years, who are of sound mind, and who have not opted out...
"The inclusion of Muslims under HOTA is expected to provide up to five additional organ donors per year (yielding up to 10 kidneys, 10 corneas, 5 livers and 5 hearts)..."



Public consultation on proposed National Registry of Diseases Bill

"The Ministry of Health is proposing to introduce a National Registry of Diseases (NRD) Bill...
"Currently, the NRD includes registries for cancer, renal failure, heart disease and stroke.
"The information captured by the NRD is mainly from public sector healthcare institutions who submit data on a voluntary basis.

"There is a need for data from the private sector to be included so that the dataset is complete and useful for national level planning..."


     - Third local dengue death reported

     - National Health Surveillance Survey 2007


$60 million ElderShield premium rebates

"Our preliminary computations suggest that the total ElderShield rebate amount is likely to exceed $60 million. When confirmed, it will be distributed to the existing policyholders numbering some 770,000.
The rebates, when confirmed, will be given out in proportion to each policyholderís contribution during the 5-year period..."



Phasing out of temporary registered doctors for service provision

"Only temporary medical registration for service provision is being phased out by 31 Dec 2007.

"Existing temporary registered doctors brought in as service providers before 1 Jan 2008 can still continue to work here until they either become conditionally registered (acquired recognized postgraduate qualifications) or they have completed their 4-6 years of service in Singapore..."



Adequacy of subsidised B2 & C beds in public hospitals

"Our current bed situation is tight, particularly in the Tan Tock Seng Hospital as it is the only hospital serving the large population in the north besides its own catchment area.
"The over-crowding in TTSH in turn causes spill-over to the other hospitals, especially National University Hospital and Changi General Hospital. There will be relief when the new general hospital in Yishun opens in 3 years time..."



MOH drafting a National Disease Registry Bill

"We support the stand that personal information identifiable to an individual participating in human biomedical research should be safeguarded.
"Proper rules governing the access and use of personal information and a secure system of information protection would re-assure research subjects on the confidentiality of personal information.
"In this connection, MOH is drafting a National Disease Registry Bill to provide an overarching legal framework for the collection of epidemiological information on key diseases for public health policy and planning purposes..."


     - Decline in Tuberculosis incidence in Singapore

     - 140 Foreign Medical Schools recognised in Singapore


Needy patients to get more subsidies for chronic renal dialysis

"A higher subsidy of $300 will be given to patients below per capita family income of $300 per month.
"Approximately 550 more patients will stand to benefit from the revised scheme. The new framework will apply to new patients who seek dialysis treatment at the VWOs..."



One Singaporean, one electronic medical record (EMR)

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for Health

"Right now, it is one Singaporean, multiple medical records, stored away in different clinics and hospitals in different formats, and not connected or consolidated. As a result, when patients visit different doctors, they have to have tests repeated and scans redone. This adds to unnecessary cost.
"We are moving towards this target of 'One Singaporean, One EMR'. Because of legacy systems, we cannot achieve it in one step. But we have made progress...
"However, this is a complex national project - very few if any countries have successfully implemented a system that links up public, private and the charity sector..."



Gearing up Singapore for its 2020 healthcare needs

"MediShield coverage among active workers is not bad, at 90%. But 390,000 Singaporeans below 20 years of age are not insured. The premium at their age is inexpensive, only $30 per year.
"And young parents can use their Baby Bonus to pay the premium. So cost is not the issue...
"We will introduce an opt-out scheme for infants to be automatically covered under MediShield from the time their births are registered.
"Premiums can be deducted from their fathers' Medisave or alternatively their mothers'. Parents who do not want such coverage can opt out any time by informing the CPF Board. We will get this done later this year..."




Liberalisation of Medisave

As part of the review of Medisave, the Ministry of Health will be increasing the withdrawal limits in the following four areas:
  1. The inpatient per diem limit will be increased from $400 to $450;
  2. The day surgery limit will be increased from $200 to $300;
  3. The annual limit for psychiatric bills will be increased from $3,500 to $5,000;
  4. Medisave will be allowed for diagnostic scans such as MRI and CT scans, if they form parts of outpatient cancer treatment.


     - Health Products Bill passed


Changes to Medisave and MediShield in 2007

"First, the Ministry of Health will increase the Medisave inpatient daily withdrawal limit from $400 to $450...
"Second, the Ministry of Health plans to allow Medisave use for MRI and CT scans, if they form part of an outpatient cancer treatment...
"MOH intends to further reduce the co-payment, in particular the deductibles of Medisave-approved private insurance plans, in 2007..."


     - Medisave can now be used for outpatient treatment of three additional chronic diseases


Survey on polyclinics in Singapore

"The heaviest patient attendances were seen at Ang Mo Kio (27,041) and Jurong (24,275), more than double the volumes seen at polyclinics such as Queenstown (9,345), Marine Parade (10,393) and Outram Polyclinics (10,550) - the lowest in attendances among polyclinics..."



     - Changes to CPF Minimum Sum and Investment schemes from 1 Jan 2007


Revision of hospital subsidy for foreigners

"From October 2007, PRs will continue to be subsidised for hospital services, but at 5 percentage-points less than Singapore citizens.
"From October 2008, another 5 percentage-point reduction will be applied. This way, Singapore citizens will enjoy greater subsidy than PRs, by a total of 10 percentage- points.
"As for the other foreigners, there will be no more healthcare subsidy from October 2007. ..."


     - Health Ministry forms national committee to combat HIV/AIDS

     - More Medisave-Approved claims settled faster by insurers

     - Singapore to set up world's first integrated neuroscience centre

     - Update On Subutex Voluntary Rehabilitation Programme

     - DUKE - NUS Graduate Medical School to open in 2009

     - Medisave withdrawal for outpatient care for four chronic diseases

     - Medisave withdrawal limit for day surgery to go up from 1 Dec 2006


Publication of data on affordability of healthcare

"The 2005 data show that public hospitals are affordable. This is especially so for the Class B2 and C wards.

"The average B2 and C bills are below $1,100. 95% of all B2/C bills are below $3,500. Considering the high standard of clinical care provided in our public hospitals, this is quite an achievement..."



More than 40 Singaporeans aged 19 and below HIV-positive

"By the end of last year, more than 40 young Singaporeans aged 19 and below have been reported as HIV-positive..."


     - 144 people benefit from expanded human organ transplant law

     - Number of recognised foreign medical schools increased to 120


The Challenge Posed by HIV/ AIDS to Singapore Businesses

In Singapore, the number of HIV-positive people has climbed steadily from the first case detected here in 1985 to 2,641 by December 2005. Three out of four (74.77%) who are infected are actively employed...

In 2005, out of the 255 new cases reported, a great majority (87%) comprised the age group of 20 - 59 years old, with those aged 20 - 49 years accounting for as much as 70% of all new cases...



     - Decline in Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases

     - Medisave for outpatient treatment of four chronic diseases by end 2006

     - 2-day Flu Pandemic Exercise to take place in July 2006

     - Singapore to recognise more foreign medical degrees


Is Class B2/C Hospitalisation Affordable?

"As a result of direct Government subsidies, the average Class B2/C bills are relatively modest. In 2004, the average bill size for Class B2 and C wards were around $1,050 and $800 respectively...
"As at end-December 2004, the average Medisave balance for all active accounts was $17,321. This is enough to cover more than 20 times the average Class C hospital bill or 10 times the 90th percentile Class C bill..."





Impact of HIV epidemic on men, women & children in Singapore

"Previously, some wives were not aware of their spouse's HIV status and so they were at risk of the HIV infection. Since July this year, we have informed the wife when the infected husband had not informed her of his positive HIV status.

"Over the last 5 months, 41 women have been informed by hand-delivered letters that their partner is infected and that they should go to CDC for testing..."



198 Singaporeans infected with HIV in first 10 months of 2005

"This brings the total number of HIV infected Singaporeans including 25 children to 2584 as of Oct 2005. Of these, 999 are asymptomatic carriers, 631 have full-blown AIDS and 954 have died.
"Heterosexual transmission has been the most common mode of HIV transmission among Singaporeans since 1991. Most of these cases contracted the infection through casual sex and sex with prostitutes in Singapore and overseas..."


     - Emergency ambulance statistics for 1st half 2005

     - New Board and CEO for National Kidney Foundation (NKF)


NKF - Win back donors' Trust

"...Judging by the hundreds of e-mail messages, letters and phone calls that have flooded The Straits Times since Monday, donors are upset by the size of Mr Durai's salary and bonuses and his travel perks...

"What many ordinary people know of the NKF are its heart-rending fliers, the plaintive pleas by its telemarketers and watching sick children on television.

"They remember digging into their pockets to give.

"Now, they are asking: Giving to whom?



KKH to serve all healthcare needs of women

"...Unlike the past when practically every Singaporean was born in a public hospital, Medisave made it affordable for many mothers to deliver their babies in private hospitals.

"The combined effects of these two structural trends have resulted in the new KKH being under-utilised. Bed occupancy is about 65%, below average. Number of babies born is one-third what it used to do...
"As a government, we should be pleased that Singaporeans are finding private obstetric care affordable. Then our limited resources can be re-deployed to serve more pressing needs, like oncology and geriatrics, where patients may not be able to afford private hospital care. Time to Change.."


      - Singapore prepares for flu pandemic

     - Key Survey Findings on Health Services 2003

     - IMH upgrades inpatient children psychiatric ward

     - Waiting times at Public Sector Emergency Departments

     - AIDS Epidemic - 311 new cases in 2004


Loss of medical talent to the private sector

"These are doctors who have devoted many years of their lives to public service; good doctors and dedicated teachers.  I have expected them to retire in public sector.  Why are they now in private practice?
"Within the Ministry, there seems to be a view that the "loss of doctors to the private sector is not a loss, for as long as they continue their practice in Singapore".  I do not agree with this view.  The loss of good teachers and clinicians from the public sector is a big loss to Singapore...


     - Private medical insurance industry to be transformed

     - MediShield reform plan takes effect from 1 July 2005


     - Deliveries in Singapore: 2001 - 2003

     - New cases of HIV infection reported in first half 2004

     - National Health Survey 2004

     - Draft human cloning & other prohibited practices bill

     - Sharing of electronic hospital in-patient discharge summaries

     - SARS control measures in hospitals & clinics stepped down




  Statistics on hospital bills - update

  Lifting of SARS Measures from 18 Aug 2003

  Monday with the Editor: SARS and the gynae

  Revised list of recognised foreign universities & medical schools

  London-based Medical Protection Society (MPS), which insures almost all of the 6,000 doctors here, has slapped hefty premium hikes of 45 to almost 100 per cent on everyone, from the most junior housemen to specialists, from last Saturday. In 1999, insurance payouts totalled less than S$1 million. In 2000, the figure tripled. In 2001, it soared to more than S$7 million. (Straits Times Wednesday 5 Feb 2003)(1)

  New laws are being proposed to allow Singapore doctors to transplant livers and corneas of people who die. With the proposed changes, almost 50 more people suffering from liver and kidney failure could be saved each year from an estimated 12 more donors. (Straits Times 14 Jan 2003) (1)



  A new S$257-million medical centre, the Novena Medical Centre, will be built directly over the Novena MRT station and across the road from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). It will be linked to TTSH by a tunnel and an air-conditioned overhead bridge that will be wide enough for trolley beds to be pushed across. The new medical centre, which will open in 2005, will have 136 medical suites occupying 13,000 sq m. It will be allowed to use all the hospital's facilities at market rates. (Straits Times 29 Nov 2002) (4)

  Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has plans for a new short-stay ward to ease the congestion in its packed accident and emergency (A&E) department. Close to 400 patients turn up at its A&E every day. At other hospitals, numbers range from about 270 a day at the National University Hospital to 360 at Changi General Hospital. The new short-stay wards will have between 12 and 20 beds and take in patients admitted through A&E for stays of up to 23 hours. They would be treated and discharged within a day. (Straits Times 28 Oct 2002) (6) 

  At least two hospitals have run out of the highly-subsidised C-class beds as patients opt for the cheapest beds because of the economic downturn. Two hospitals have also closed down their less popular B2-plus wards to convert them to B2- or C-class bed wards. (Straits Times 24 Oct 2002) (1)

  There are now about 80,000 Singaporeans with heart failure. The number of people hospitalised for the condition here has doubled over the past 10 years. Last year, there were as many as 5,000. While most of the sufferers were above 65 years old, some were in their 20s and 30s. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling in the legs. Heart failure can be caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, abnormal heart valves, diabetes and smoking. (Straits Times 17 Oct 2002) (H3)

  The Health Ministry will publicise costs of services and items in hospitals so that patients can judge which hospital, ward or service suits their pocket best. Hospital bills will now indicate the estimated total charges, including doctor's fees for a particular episode of care. The current practice of providing the average bill for a day will be refined to better reflect the different types of treatment and their complexity. Hospitals will also provide itemised charges so that patients know exactly what they are being charged for. (Straits Times 5 Oct 2002) (1)

  Preliminary results of a study by KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) show that 60 per cent of grossly obese children have sleep apnoea, 36 per cent have diabetes, 40 per cent have high cholesterol and 5 per cent have hypertension. In Singapore, about 10 per cent of schoolchildren are obese and of these, 5 per cent or about 3,000 children are grossly obese. Results of the survey have shown that with diet and exercise, 57 per cent of the children have managed to reduce their weight by 6 per cent within eight weeks. (Straits Times 24 Sep 2002) (H1)

  The Government will set aside S$3.8 million a year to subsidise, from next month, up to 75 per cent of the medical bills of needy elderly patients who need doctors or nurses to treat them at home. About 3,500 need home nursing care, and 1,200 need to be seen at home by a doctor. The maximum monthly per capita income for a family to qualify is S$1,000. The subsidies will be dispensed through 11 homecare providers here, which are run by voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs). (Straits Times 233 Sep 2002) (H1)

  Of the S$700 million in hospital bills for patients in B2 and C classes of wards in the last financial year, only 3 per cent or about S$22 million, is paid by employee benefits, insurance or cash. The rest is covered by government subsidies and Medisave, MediShield and Medifund, according to the Health Ministry yesterday. The average B2- and C-class patients' bills are S$1,205 and S$756 respectively. Straits Times 17 Sep 2002) (5)

  At Alexandra Hospital, A and B1-class patients admitted from yesterday pay new fees which are about 2 to 3 per cent higher. At National University Hospital (NUH), charges for its subsidised wards stay unchanged but the average bill for its A-class patients is expected to go up by 1 to 2 per cent. (Straits Times 13 Sep 2002) (4)

  Charges at Woodbridge Hospital and KK Women's & Children's Hospital will go up by an average of 8 and 6 per cent respectively between now and October 2002. For most subsidised patients in major hospitals such as Singapore General, Changi General, Tan Tock Seng and Alexandra, the average increase is between 1 and 3 per cent. The new prices affect only the subsidised Class C and B2 wards. Changes for the non-subsidised A and B1 wards will be made known later. There is no change in polyclinic fees. Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang yesterday said that some of the hospitals would go further into the red without an increase. (Straits Times 12 Sep 2002) (3)

  Cancer patients will have one-stop cancer care at Tan Tock Seng Hospital at the end of the year. The hospital is spending an estimated S$20 million on two machines that will provide radiation therapy to patients whose cancers are best treated this way. (Straits Times 29 Jul 2002) (4)

  About 1,000 of the 1,800 doctors here insured by troubled Australian company United Medical Protection (UMP) have turned to London-based Medical Protection Society (MPS), which already insures the majority of doctors here, for new policies on top of their UMP policies. UMP is under provisional liquidation and stopped renewing policies or accepting new members in Singapore in early May. (Straits Times 6 Jul 2002) (4)

  There was one doctor to every 700 people here last year, an improvement over the one to 720 ratio in 2000, said Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang in Parliament yesterday. He said the shortfall came about because the intake of medical students had not kept pace with the population increase since 1993. There is also a shortage of doctors in the public sector, with a shortfall of 12 per cent. Mr LIM noted that the Government was looking at training 230 to 250 doctors here a year, with another 50 to 80 foreigners and Singaporeans graduating from overseas universities. He also said the shortage of nurses here had also improved a little, with the number of nurses increasing by 3.3 per cent last year over the figure for 2000. There is one nurse for every 300 people here. (Straits Times 21 May 2002) (H3)

  About 1,200 GPs out of about 2,000 GPs in Singapore participate in the National Healthcare Group's (NHG) Direct Access Scheme in which patients with urgent medical conditions gain direct admission into hospitals after they had seen the GPs. The patients need not wait at the hospital A&E departments. (Straits Times 20 May 2002) (H2)

  There are no plans to introduce means testing at government hospitals and polyclinics, said Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang yesterday. Means testing involves pegging the amount of subsidies a patients receives to his income so, the poorer the patient, the higher the subsidy. Yesterday, Mr LIM noted that means testing has been used for nursing-home residents since July 2000, and for hospice patients since October 2001. From July 1, it will be extended to patients at community hospitals, he said. (Straits Times 6 May 2002) (3)

  The collapse of United Medical protection (UMP), Australia's biggest health insurer, may affect about 1,800 doctors, or one in three who practise here, as they are insured with it. In the short term, they are still covered against malpractice claims, but if UMP folds, they may have to pay for any claims themselves, and the bill could run into millions of dollars. In Singapore, it is mandatory only for doctors in the public sector to have insurance. (Straits Times 3 May 2002) (5)

  At a world conference on infectious diseases held here yesterday, consultant microbiologist LING Moi Lin said Singapore hospitals and clinics now have policies and procedures mapped out to contain the overuse of antibiotics. Still, doctors, especially general practitioners, tend to prescribe antibiotics too liberally. Singapore doctors are issued guidelines on the use of antibiotics. But some doctors may not follow them, said Dr LING. (Straits Times 13 Mar 2002) (H2)

  A new S$52 million centre for infectious diseases, such as Aids, will be built on the grounds of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, not far away from the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC). Unlike the CDC, the new building will also house stoke patients in rehabilitation. Health Ministry officials said the building's date of completion has not been finalised. In addition, a S$2.7 million super-laboratory will be built at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to swiftly identify infectious diseases that are potentially dangerous to the population. The 100-sq-m lab will be ready in June this year. (Straits Times 12 Mar 2002) (1)

  London: A top British surgeon is to target Singapore and other countries to recruit 450 consultants to work in Britain for at least two years. Prime Minister Tony Blair has appointed Sir Magdi Yacoub as an international roving ambassador. His task is to sign on senior medics for British hospitals desperately short of staff. A Department of Health spokesman told The Straits Times, "Sir Magdi will scour the world for the consultants, including Singapore." (Straits Times 11 Mar 2002) (3) 

  From April 2002, every newborn at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) will be given a hearing test within hours of being born. As many as six in 1,000 babies born here may have a hearing problem. 90 per cent of children with hearing defects have parents whose hearing is normal. (Straits Times 1 Mar 2002) (H7)

  From tomorrow, patients who are well enough to to go home but insist on remaining in hospital will have to pay the full price for their stay in government hospitals. The new ruling will be explained to all patients when they are admitted, the Health Ministry told The Straits Times yesterday. When the time comes for their discharge, the two health clusters will help them find beds in community hospitals or nursing homes. Every year, more than 150 people choose to stay in hospital although they are well enough to go home. Overstayers are often found in Class B2 and C wards. Overstaying is an old problem. In 1998, a ministry study found one in four patients overstayed a month or more. An October 2000 survey found about 175 overstayers in five restructured hospitals, including SGH and NUH. They took up 4 per cent of the total beds. (Straits Times 28 Feb 2002)(3) 

  Last year, National University Hospital (NUH) treated 16,767 non-resident foreign patients. They made up 5 per cent of all its patients. Some were hospitalised but the majority received outpatient treatment. A hospital spokesman said he hoped to increase the number of foreign patients to about 25,000 within two years. According to the health ministry, between 12,500 and 16,500 foreigners have been admitted to Singapore hospitals each year since 1995. These are people who have come just for medical treatment and spent some time in hospital. About four in five were treated by the private sector. (Straits Times 27 Feb 2002) (3)

  Doctors here have cured two cancer patients by using blood from umbilical cords, without first destroying their bone marrow with chemotherapy. Their success is a world first. One of the two had leukemia, or cancer of the blood; and the other had myeloma, or cancer of the bone marrow. However, it will be another three years before they can be sure they are fully cured, said Associate Professor Patrick TAN, head of Singapore General Hospital's Department of Haematology. (Straits Times 19 Feb 2002) (3)

  A second heart centre, called the National Heart Institute, has been set up. The departments planned for the new institute, part of health-care cluster National Healthcare Group, will be opened in stages. (Straits Times 16 Feb 2002) (3) 

  The exodus of doctors from the public sector eased considerably last year, with only 124 leaving, roughly half the number who left in 2000. A spokesman for the Health Ministry admitted that the economic downturn was a possible reason for fewer leaving, but cited other factors, such as higher salaries paid in 2000, better working conditions and the availability of more training opportunities, keeping doctors in service. In 1999, 162 doctors left the public sector. In 2000, the figure was higher, at 243. In an attempt to make up for the shortfall, 79 foreign doctors were recruited in 2000. (Straits Times 14 Feb 2002) (4)


  At Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), demand for a B2+ bed jumped by 20 per cent this year, while that for a C class one went up by 4 per cent. Over at National University Hospital (NUH), demand for C class beds went up by 6 per cent, while that for its B2 class beds was up by 4 per cent. SingHealth Hospitals - Singapore General, KK Women's and Children's and Changi General hospitals - saw a 6 per cent rise in demand for C class beds but a 10 per cent increase for B2+ ones over the last year. B2+ wards, which get a 50-per-cent subsidy, are air-conditioned with attached toilets and house five patients. (Straits Times 31 Dec 2001) (3)

  It will be six to eight years before a new hospital in the north can be ready and operational, a Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman told The Straits Times. The spokesman said: "We are confirming the site for the hospital and building works are scheduled to commence in three years' time. Meanwhile the next new regional general hospital will be built in Jurong. The S$400 million, 650-room hospital, which will be ready in 2006, will be built on the Pioneer Junior College site in Jurong Town Hall Road. It will have about 2,000 employees, of which more than half will be nurses and about 10 per cent will be doctors. Alexandra Hospital will then be closed.(Straits Times 22 Nov 2001)(6)

  Only about 40 per cent of the 2,000 mothers who give birth at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) each year would ask for a scan, said senior consultant Ann TAN, chief of foetal maternal medicine at SGH. She urged all mums-to-be to go for the special ultra-sound scan, which costs only about S$35, as it enables them to check the health of their foetus. The test is 85 per cent accurate but must be completed when the foetus is between 11 and 14 weeks old. The risk of a baby having Down's Syndrome increases with the mother's age. At 20 years old, the risk is one in 1,500, compared to one in 100 at age 40. According to the national births defects registry, 39 babies were born with Down's Syndrome in 1998, while 32 foetuses with the condition were aborted. About 60 per cent of those with Down's Syndrome were born to mothers 35 years and older. (Straits Times 15 Nov 2001) (H1)

  Doctors at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) who disagree with family members about keeping a patient's life-support machine on will soon be able to turn to a panel of experts to settle the issue. The hospital announced on Tuesday that it will start a ethics-consultation service early next year. It will comprise members of the hospital's staff who have been trained to identify, analyse and resolve moral problems in clinical practice. (Straits Times 1 Nov 2001)(H16)

  Residents in Sengkang will get a new polyclinic by 2004. There are about 100,000 people living in Sengkang now, but the population will shoot up to 150,000 in 2005. The number of residents living in Punggol will rise to 95,000 by then. (Straits Times 2 Oct 2001) (H6)

  The Government has decided that all hospitals should provide C-class wards from September 2001, for all treatments. Explaining why all restructured hospitals had been directed to provide all patients the option of C-class treatment, a Health Ministry spokesman said that the ministry's stand was that class C should be available as a choice for all, regardless of medical condition. In the meantime, patients can start asking to be placed in C-class wards. If none is available, you get a B2 bed, at C-class charges. (Straits Times 7 Sep 2001)(1)

  Public Forum: What's new in the treatment of Common Skin Diseases - 15 Sep 2001

  Singapore urgently needs more now and a second medical school, said an international panel of medical experts. Singapore now has one doctor to 720 people, compared with one to 400 in the US and one to 600 in Britain. The panel also said that the current intake of 230 students may need to be redoubled in the next 10 years. The panel is also concerned that last year, half the doctors recruited by the public sector were trained overseas. So, there is compelling reason for a second medical school. But, if the Nanyang Technological University, which is keen on setting up a medical school, starts working on it today, it will take at least 10 years to do so, it noted. This is because NTU which is strong in engineering, does not teach the biological sciences, which should complement a medical school. (Straits Times 18 Aug 2001) (3)

 London: The number of overseas nurses signed on by British hospitals desperately short of medical staff rose by a staggering 41 per cent last year, new figures reveal. A record total of 8,403 nurses from more than 24 countries outside the European Union were recruited by Britain last year, compared with 5,945 in the previous year. Most came from the Philippines, which supplied 3,396 nurses, four times more than in the previous year. Others were from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. (Straits Times 16 Aug 2001)(13)

  In a recent survey of 606 Singaporeans on health care here, 99% of those polled agreed when asked if hospitals should allow patients to stagger their payments. When asked if they thought health-care costs were affordable here, almost half said they were not. Nearly 7 in 10 agreed when asked if it was expensive to visit government specialist centres. Those interviewed in the survey said they waited an average of 57 minutes to see a public doctor, and one in 10 patients said they waited for more than two hours. Almost half said imposing a S$10 booking fee to cut waiting times would not be effective in shortening queues.  (Straits Times 21 Jun 2001)

  In the past three months, 15 specialists quit from the public health sector, compared with 12 in the same period last year. The number of registrars, or specialists-in-training, who left in that period remained at five. Last year, a total of 61 specialists and 25 registrars left the public sector, the largest number in recent years. The Health Ministry's director of medical services, Professor TAN Chorh Chuan, told The Straits Times the public sector is now short of about 100 specialists despite the return of several from the private sector and the recruitment of specialists from abroad. (Straits Times 20 Jun 2001)

  More Medisave money can now be used for the treatment of some serious illnesses, including cancer and to help couples conceive. The amounts that patients can claim for chemotherapy treatment will go up from S$100 to S$300 for a seven-day treatment and from S$400 to S$1,200 for a 21- to 28-day treatment. This takes effect for patients starting their treatment from today. The Ministry of Health (MOH) announcement yesterday said the changes "are to help ensure that Singaporeans are able to withdraw sufficient Medisave to cover their medical bills. The other major change affects couples seeking help to conceive. They can now use S$4,000 for each treatment cycle, up from S$2,000. But Medisave can only be used for up to three cycles. (Straits Times 1 Jun 2001)

  Five doctors from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) will hold clinics at Changi General Hospital on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. They will also provide general gynaecological services to women living in the eastern part of Singapore. This is an effort by SingHealth, the public-health cluster to which the three hospitals belong, to improve service to patients. (Straits Times 9 May 2001)

  The two health clusters - one in the east and the other in the west of Singapore - that run all public hospitals and polyclinics will be designated as non-profit groups to make sure they remain public-service organisations. Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang said on 10 Mar 2001 that the restructuring of public health care is to make public hospitals and polyclinics more efficient and responsive - not more expensive. Giving the health clusters "not for profit" status makes sure this is absolutely clear. This means they will not be under pressure to pay dividends to shareholders. (Straits Times 11 Mar 2001)

  Public medical group Singapore Health Services said it has leased space at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre to operate an outpatient eye clinic. The 3,300- sq-ft clinic will probably start operations in April 2001, according to SingHealth's Chief Executive Officer, Professor TAN Ser Kiat on Saturday 13 Jan 2001. The group also plans to open a 4,000-sq-ft multi-disciplinary clinic at Gelneagles Hospital by June 2001. (Straits Times 15 Jan 2001)

  Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has increased its consultation charges at specialist- outpatient clinics by up to 70%. The cost of a follow-up appointment with a senior consultant has shot up from S$32 to S$55. Repeat consultations now cost from S$35 to S$55, depending on the grade of doctor, compared with the earlier S$22 to S$32. Fees for initial visits to specialist-outpatient clinics have gone up to between S$60 and S$80, up from S$42 - S$67. The fee revision, which took place from 1 Dec 2000, is the first at SGH since June 1997. (Straits Times 1 Jan 2001)


  London: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has told Britain to stop poaching nurses from other countries. It condemned Britain for active and intensive campaigns to sign on nurses from countries which themselves are short of nurses. WHO said there was a worldwide shortage of nurses. British hospitals, facing a shortage of 20,000 nurses, are recruiting staff from the West Indies, Africa and China. Some have come from Zambia. (Straits Times 23 Dec 2000)

  Doctors, nurses and paramedics at the National University Hospital (NUH) were vaccinated against measles this week after at least 12 people there came down with the disease. NUH confirmed on 14 Dec 2000 that eight are NUH employees and four are patients. All 12 people diagnosed so far are recovering. (Straits Times 15 Dec 2000)

  The proposed fourth university here should consider offering a degree course in nursing. This is necessary if the country wants to attract more people into nursing, the president of the Singapore Nurses Association, Miss Susie Kong, told The Straits Times. Currently, only the Nanyang Polytechnic offers a full-time diploma course in nursing. The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) at Bishan has a certificate course. (Straits Times 11 Dec 2000)

  The Health Ministry has announced that nursing homes, hospices and community hospitals can take in people with Aids, and get the same subsidies for these patients as they do for others under their nursing care. The ministry's position was contained in an e-mail reply to The Sunday Times, about the shelter options for Aids patients who are not ill enough to be admitted to hospital, but still need some medical care. Previously, social workers, welfare homes and some hospices were uncertain if they could shelter people with Aids, as it is a communicable disease. (Straits Times 10 Dec 2000)

  Surgeons at the National Heart Centre carried out Singapore's first lung transplant between Sunday (19 Nov 2000) night and early Monday (20 Nov 2000) morning. The recipient, a 54-year-old man, is in intensive care and appears to have a good chance of survival. The transplant lungs came from a woman who died of a brain haemorrhage about 24 hours after being admitted to the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), next to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, on Saturday (18 Nov 2000) morning.

  Jurong Polyclinic will start night clinics in January 2001. If this pilot scheme proves successful, other busy polyclinics may do the same, said Health Minister LIM Hng Kiang on 20 Nov 2000 at the launch of the National Healthcare Group (NHG), which is the cluster of hospitals, specialist centres and polyclinics in the west and north of the country.

  The John Hopkins-NUH International Medical Centre (IMC) at Kent Ridge was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Tony TAN on 6 Oct 2000. It specialises in cancer treatment and currently uses a ward at NUH Kent Ridge wing which has space for 14 beds. It also has three consultation rooms for its outpatient clinic. The centre now charges S$100 for an extended consultation and S$250 per day for a bed in their ward.

  Tan Tock Seng Hospital has become the first hospital in Singapore to go online on a hospital-wide scale, linking all its departments. A new computer system, Clinical Workstation, links all clinical and administrative departments.

  Salaries of nurses in the public sector will go up by about 13% to attract more Singaporeans to join the profession. Starting pay for assistant nurses will go up by 21% to S$1350, and registered nurses will get 10% more and earn S$1700.



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