Daddy and Mummy were invited by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore to present a briefing to a group of senior healthcare officials from Asia, Africa and Middle East. The briefing was organised by NTU to share Singapore’s expertise in healthcare sector with these countries.
Mummy who is an expert in the healthcare system provided an overview of the healthcare system in Singapore, the private and public partnership and how the government subsidizes the healthcare services in the public hospitals and the government polyclinics.
She also shared with the participants how patients should select the right services for their right medical conditions. For example, if a person needed to consult a specialist doctor for his complicated medical condition, it will be cheaper for him to consult a polyclinic doctor first to obtain a referral to consult a specialist in a public hospital. If he goes to the specialist clinic directly without a referral from the polyclinic, he would not be entitled to government subsidy for the specialist clinic.
Daddy then spoke about the challenges of running a healthcare organisation in Singapore. Daddy was previously the Head of one of the public healthcare institutions in Singapore and he shared with the participants on how to manage healthcare cost while ensuring high quality of healthcare services is delivered to the patients.
As healthcare cost are rising globally and also in Singapore, it is important for the government and patients to manage the cost, otherwise patients will end up with a very high hospital bill, like some western countries. Thus, the focus should be in the area of preventive medicine, to screen patients early to detect if they have diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and treat them early with dietary advice and medications. if necessary, so that their conditions do not worsen and require more complicated medical treatment. The healthy population should be instilled with healthy lifestyle practices like not smoking, exercise regularly and healthy eating.
The participants were impressed with the healthcare system in Singapore from the talks and they hope to implement some of their learning back in their own countries.