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Change Singapore’s care model to resolve hospital bed crunch: Gan

SINGAPORE — Resolving the hospital bed crunch is not just about expanding capacity, but it is also about changing Singapore’s care model, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

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SINGAPORE — Resolving the hospital bed crunch is not just about expanding capacity, but it is also about changing Singapore’s care model, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the topping-up ceremony of the new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital today (Jan 20)

Speaking on the bed crunch situation, Mr Gan said it is important that people do not head to the Emergency Department if their medical condition is not critical.

He said: “If we are able to implement the Health Care 2020 capacity development plan, (and) at the same time restructure and change our care model to one that is less reliant on acute hospital beds (but) more reliant on community care as well as home care...If we do all this together, we will have sufficient capacity going forward.”

Mr Gan also said the bed occupancy rate at hospitals has stabilised but will continue to remain tight due to an ageing population.

Separately, Mr Gan also said today, in a written reply to a Parliamentary question by Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim, that the mean waiting time for a subsidised nursing home bed is about four months.

Mr Gan said seniors awaiting nursing home placement are prioritised according to their care needs and those with urgent needs are allocated a bed earlier.

There are over 60 nursing homes in Singapore providing some 9,800 beds for the elderly with high care needs.

Mr Gan said the Government is pro-actively ramping up the nursing home capacity to address the needs of Singapore’s ageing population. The aim is to reach 15,600 nursing home beds by 2020.

Last year, the Health Ministry added almost 1,000 nursing home beds to the system. Another 3,500 beds for nursing homes will come on-stream by 2016 through the development of new nursing homes as well as the on-site expansion of existing nursing homes. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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