So Singapore is suffering from a hospital bed crunch? Again? Rightly it has been described as a perennial problem. Dr Jeremy Lim last year alluded to it being a 'systems problem'. Of course it is. Like the floods hitting us nowadays, it is a systems problem. When rainfall exceeds a certain rate, the drains must overflow. Likewise, if there are more patients needing beds than there a beds, there will be a crunch. And patients get to sleep in corridors.
When I was a houseofficer, this was a fairly common occurence during every admitting day.
The question is why has this problem not been solved? It is not as if the problem is unknown. Or cannot be predicted. At least for the flood problem we can always blame the vagaries of weather .... global warming etc. But patient bed demands are fairly predictable through the year. Population growth numbers are very well known...at least to government departments. Surely bed demands can be computed and modelled. To me, a bed crunch is a sad indictment of the lack of MoH resolve in tackling this problem.
There was once a model that promised to deliver at least 80% of capacity for local patients, and only 20% was to be for the servicing of medical tourists. Yet the current figures suggest that medical tourists now occupy 30% of bed capacity. Surely this discrepancy can be modelled and provided for. The problem did not spring up overnight!
Another problem relates to the unbalanced provision of beds. Bed occupancies differ in the different hospitals. SGH and NUH has much lower occupancies than TTSH and CGH, and the latter therefore suffer worse bed crunches. Has the MoH over provided for the premier hospitals and inadequately for those servicing residents.
I think MoH owes us an explanation.
5 years ago