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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 1 June 2007

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Adequacy of subsidised B2 & C beds in public hospitals


Adequacy of subsidised B2 & C beds

Question No:  222  
Question By:  Madam Halimah Yacob, MP for Jurong GRC  
To ask the Minister for Health in view of the rapidly aging population,
(a) whether there are enough subsidised beds for patients in public hospitals to meet the increasing demand; and
(b) whether the Ministry has plans to increase the number of subsidised beds in public hospitals.
Reply from MOH 21 May 2007
The supply of acute hospital beds must keep pace with increasing demand, as our resident population expands and ages. While we try to match supply and demand perfectly, it is a challenge given the long lead time in putting up new 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.
Meanwhile, we are adding new beds to existing hospitals. Since the beginning of this year, we have added 81 beds in TTSH and NUH. All are subsidized beds. Another 67 beds in NUH and CGH will be opened in the second half of this year, also in the subsidized wards. We will continue the incremental expansion wherever practical until the new general hospital in Yishun opens.
As our resident population will continue to expand and age, demand for new hospital beds will continue to rise even after the new general hospital is fully opened with 550 beds around 2012.
Our rough projections suggest that we will need 60-100 new beds per year until the population stabilizes. A significant proportion of these beds will be in the subsidized wards.
We are planning ahead. A new general hospital in the west, will be built during the next few years. Otherwise, National University Hospital may become as over-crowded as Tan Tock Seng Hospital is today.
Our plan is to keep Alexandra Hospital temporarily for a few years while the new general hospital in the west is being built. The exact timing and location are being studied.

Source: News 21 May 2007

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