Updated: 03/12/2014 22:45

Govt will keep up efforts to boost primary healthcare

Govt will keep up efforts to boost primary healthcare

The government is putting in resources to develop primary and community healthcare services even as it continues to increase the capacity of acute hospitals. 

It will also do more to change societal mindsets on ageing by spreading the positive aspects of growing older. 

938LIVE's John Yip , has more. 

Singapore's ageing population means that our healthcare needs are becoming more complex, and also require longer-term care. 

And Health Minister Gan Kim Yong says increasing healthcare capacity alone will not be a sustainable solution. 

"If left unchecked, demand will keep increasing and we will run up agains tht physical limits of space and manpower." 

Speaking during his ministry's Committee of Suppy debate, Mr Gan says it's vitally important to transform Singapore's healthcare model, so that we become less dependant on acute hospitals. 

"Our healthcare delivery should allow patients to receive care that is more effective, less costly and in more appropriate settings." 

He highlights primary care as a critical piece of this new model. 

Primary care includes polyclinics and community health centres. 

Two more polyclinics will be built in Pioneer and Punggol by 2017, and three community health centres will be opened this year. 

One of them will be a mobile centre that will enable it to cover a wider area in Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh and Hougang. 

There will also be two more Family Medicine Clinics, or FMCs, by June this year, adding to the four already in service. 

But all this doesn't mean the government is neglecting acute care. 

Mr Gan says that from now to 2020, the government will add over 11,000 more acute-hospital, community-hospital and nursing-home beds. 

"Building capacity has been a key focus of our healthcare policy. Over the last 10 years, we have increased public acute and community hospitals, as well as nursing home beds by over 30 per cent." 

Mr Gan adds that even as the government takes steps to meet the needs of an ageing population, we need to be careful not to associate ageing with sickness and diability. 

"Ageing can be a happy and fulfilling journey. As a society, we can come together to celebrate longevity and encourage seniorts to continue staying physically, socially and mentally active." 

As the Secretariat for the Ministerial Committee on Ageing, the Health Ministry will coordinate efforts to roll out special privileges for seniors as part of the "SG50 - Seniors" initiative in the run-up to the 50th National Day next year.
Mr Gan says the initiative hopes to encourage seniors to go out with their families and friends, and live life to the fullest.

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