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MOM setting up 6 regional medical centres for migrant workers, to open by Q4

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower will be setting up six regional medical centres for migrant workers that will be operational by the fourth quarter of this year.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Manpower will be setting up six regional medical centres for migrant workers that will be operational by the fourth quarter of this year.

These centres will provide primary medical care for migrant workers, focusing on simple and acute chronic conditions, and have diagnostic imaging and X-ray capabilities.

The regional centres will also hire healthcare workers from the home countries of these workers, so as to reduce language and cultural barriers.

There are presently 13 regional and on-site medical centres that have been set up for migrant workers since August last year.

In a virtual conference with the media on Wednesday (June 30), Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said that the six medical centres will be set up with a longer-term plan in mind, one that is more cost-effective for employers, workers and the Government.

“We've gleaned a lot of learning from the different centres that we have run... for almost a year now,” Dr Tan said. “We think that we are at an opportune inflection point where we're ready to transit to a more permanent medical support plan.”

He added that the ministry had launched a request for proposal on Monday to invite business entities and non-governmental organisations to submit proposals for this project.

It will be scored based on the prospective operator’s effectiveness in administering care to the workers and its ability to pre-emptively prevent future outbreaks.

Operators of the centres will also have to implement cost-effective measures to deliver affordable care to the migrant workers, which may include buying drugs, medical equipment and other supplies in bulk so as to reduce costs.

The request will be open on procurement portal GeBiz until July 22.

The island will be split into six geographical sectors each served by one medical centre. Within each sector, there are at least 40,000 migrant workers, both inclusive of those living within dormitories and those living in the community.

Other than providing primary healthcare services, the regional medical centres will have:

  • Two mobile clinical teams placed on standby for quick activation by the authorities to respond to health threats within each sector

  • Telemedicine services available to the workers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including a service to deliver medicine to the workers residing within each sector

  • Support services such as ambulance transport will be available round the clock

In addition to the six centres, there will be three on-site medical centres within dormitories, at PPT Lodge 1B in Seletar, Sungei Tengah Lodge off Old Choa Chu Kang Road and Tuas View Dormitory.

Asked if the total of nine centres will be a reduction in capabilities since it is fewer than the current 13, Dr Tan said that the number of medical centres should not be the focus.

He likened the system to a hub-and-spoke model.

“We have the hub — (regional) medical centres — and all the way to the spoke, which is the on-site medical centres… what we are trying to do is build an ecosystem.”

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