shortage of beds in public hospitals in Singapore has been an ongoing problem
for countless years. Despite numerous attempts over the years by the
Singapore’s Ministry of Health to solve this issue, there is still a shortage
of beds in public hospitals in Singapore. This is a worrying as it weakens the
overall healthcare system of Singapore. Having an excellent healthcare system
is paramount if Singapore plans to continue progressing as a country. As such, in
this essay, we will look deeper into this severe problem and if it can be eased
bed crunch situation usually happens when there is a sudden hike in illnesses or
during holiday seasons. For instance, the flu season in 2006 led to the
occupation of all the beds at public hospitals such as Singapore General
Hospital (SGH), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and Changi General Hospital (CGH)
due to a prevalent rise of patients suffering from pneumonia. Also, during the
holiday seasons, many patients are not willing to be discharged as their
families are away on vacation and there is no one to look after them at home.
bed crunch situation is due to two prominent reasons, mainly, the growing
number of elderly in Singapore and Singaporean patient’s preference to visit
public hospitals. The growing number of elderly in Singapore plays a part in
the bed crunch situation because elderlies are sick more often and need to
spend longer time in hospitals to recuperate. For example, median age of
inpatients in CGH has risen from 56 years in 2008 to 60 in 2011 resulting in an
increase duration of stay from 5.3 days to 6.2 days. Even though there are many
hospitals in Singapore, most Singaporean patients prefer public hospitals
compared to private hospitals due to heavy government subsidies. Singaporeans can use their
Medisave accounts and other government programs and subsidies to receive low
cost care from public hospitals while Private hospitals, do not allow for these
types of subsidies. Hence, the cost of medical care in private hospitals is much
more expensive than that found in public hospitals, resulting in Singaporean
patients’ preference to visit public hospital.
undesirable consequences have developed due the bed crunch situation. Firstly,
the waiting time in public hospitals are exceedingly long. According to
Ministry of Health in Singapore, TTSH had an average waiting time of over five
hours in September 2017. Secondly, many patients have been referred to other
hospitals due to a lack of beds. For instance, TTSH and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
were forced to refer patients to Alexandra hospital which were one of the few
public hospitals with spare beds. The long waiting time as well as reference of
patients to other public hospitals are unidealistic as it negatively affects patient’s
satisfaction, prolongs their suffering as well as increasing the risk of death.
on a computational thinking standpoint, I believe that the bed crunch situation
in public hospitals in Singapore can be eased or solved. One way to ease the issue
is that MOH can create a platform to decide or inform the patients which public
hospitals are more readily available at any one point of time. It can be based
on several factors such as current occupancy rates of public hospitals,
patient’s preference as well as distance between the patient family’s home and
public hospitals which can be tackled as a computational problem.
this will ease the shortage of beds situation at certain public hospitals as
patients are more spread out across all the public hospitals in Singapore.
conclusion, the bed crunch situation is a dire matter as it is a reflection of
Singapore’s healthcare system. In order to move forward, we should strive to
solve or ease this problem promptly.