SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the projected 6.9 million population by 2030 in the White Paper will serve as a basis for planning efforts to ensure sufficient capacity in the healthcare sector.
He also said his ministry is adjusting its plans to be able to meet future healthcare needs.
Mr Gan stressed that the 6.9 million figure is not a target.
The health minister said that Singapore’s ageing population would have grown larger by 2030.
Hence there is a need to restructure some healthcare services to cater to more elderly citizens, with particular emphasis on chronic diseases.
"We need to, maybe, look at how we can restructure our primary care sector, our hospitals including our intermediate long—term care sector," said Mr Gan.
"We make sure that our capacity is in line with the government’s planning norm, so that by 2030, we will make sure that we have sufficient capacity to meet the population at that time."
He added that the Health Ministry will also monitor the demographic shift of the population to ensure that hospitals have the sufficient flexibility to adapt.
"If the ageing process picks up pace, our fertility (rate) goes down, more older people than we expected, even if the number remains the same, the demand for healthcare services could be quite different. So we need to make sure our hospitals have sufficient flexibility to adapt to demographic shift," said Mr Gan.
Boosting physical infrastructure and manpower development would also be important.
"This will involve training programmes, recruitment programmes and continuing to improve the terms of working conditions for healthcare workers to attract and retain more Singaporeans in this sector. We need to look at how we need to supplement our local workforce with foreign manpower especially in the healthcare sector to meet the ageing population," said Mr Gan.
The health minister was speaking on the sidelines of a community event by the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) on Saturday.
He, together with CDAC board members Ms Grace Fu, Mr Baey Yam Keng and Ms Low Yen Ling, announced new outreach initiatives to improve social mobility and help lower income families.
These include extending CDAC’s programmes and assistance to post—secondary students and a new mentoring programme.
In addition, CDAC will foster closer ties with the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations and clan associations.
Mr Gan also presented awards to CDAC’s partners in recognition of their contributions.
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