Photo of Gan Kim Yong from The Straits Times

The Ministry of Health (MOH) today (Apr 7) confirmed that Singapore is still facing a serious hospital bed crunch and the situation is still as bad as 4 years ago in 2013. Patients have to make do with beds on the corridors, covered by only a make-shift curtain for privacy.

Despite the government’s plan to increase population to 6.9 million, MOH only increased hospital beds by 2,500. The current capacity of 10,500 hospital beds saw a 88% occupancy rate as of last month, March 2017, as the same occupancy rate for the whole of 2013.

Photo of Singapore hospital beds in common corridor from Facebook

According to government statistics, the most crowded hospital in Singapore goes to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, with an occupancy rate up to 97% in its emergency department, where patients had to wait for more than 8 hours to get a bed.

A Tan Tong Seng Hospital spokesperson lamented that quality is compromised due to overcrowding:

“At times, when there is overwhelming demand for our ED services, some patients with less critical conditions may have to wait longer for treatment and admission. In those situations, our patient ambassadors and nursing staff will strive to attend to concerns of the patients and caregivers, and to seek their understanding. Patients who do not require emergency care are advised to seek medical attention at the polyclinics or GP clinics.”

A MOH spokesperson confirmed the hospital bed crunch and said that the same problem is happening at Changi General Hospital (CGH) and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH). Despite the drastic situation, MOH said that they only have the budget to increase hospital beds by another 2,000 in 2020 – meaning Singaporeans will continue to see poor public healthcare delivery for at least the next 3 years.

The current Minister of Health is Gan Kim Yong.