Source: Today video screengrab.

Khaw plans ahead for airport but not healthcare – he expects S’poreans not fall sick as they age

The Straits Times reported what Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said during the opening of Changi Airport Terminal 4 (‘Building ahead of demand is key for Changi Airport’s success, says Khaw Boon Wan at T4’s opening’, 3 Aug).

Khaw told the media that forward planning and building ahead of demand are important to ensure that Changi Airport keeps ahead of its rivals.

“Building ahead of demand requires sound judgment. It is not simply ‘build and they will come’. The aviation industry is unpredictable, subject to many disruptions, including oil prices and, at times, unhelpful governmental interventions,” he said.

“Adhering to straight line projections may end up in tears. We must be sensitive to potential disruptions and be ready to make strategic changes promptly when warranted.”

Thanks to the revelation from financial blogger Leong Sze Hian, we now know that Khaw, who was then Health Minister from 2004 to 2011, did not bother to “build ahead of demand” as far as Singaporeans’ healthcare is concerned.

Mr Leong wrote, “In fact, according to the Department of Statistics’ Yearbook of Statistics 2012, the total number of hospital beds in Singapore declined from 11,936 in 2001 to 11,394 in 2011 despite the number of hospital admissions increasing from 384,054 to 469,445. Against this backdrop, there was an increase in the population from 4.1 to 5.2 million over the same period.”

Khaw expects Singaporeans to not fall sick as they age

Indeed, according to an old archived web information from MOH, in 2007, there were only a total of 11,547 hospital beds in 30 hospitals in Singapore (population in Singapore was 4.6 million in 2007):

For unknown reasons, the latest information from MOH website did not show the latest number of hospital beds in Singapore. It only shows the number as at 2014 – 11,230 hospitals beds in 26 hospitals (a reduction from 30 at 2007). Population in Singapore was 5.5 million in 2014:

Putting all these information together, we can see a trend from 2001 to 2014:

In fact, we can see that the number of hospital beds per 1,000 population keeps falling from 2001 to 2014, as population in Singapore increases.

Meanwhile, MOH keeps reducing the total number of hospital beds in Singapore. It’s as if Khaw is expecting Singaporeans to somehow not fall sick and get stronger as they age.