In a Facebook post on Sunday (30 Sep), Mr Inderjit Singh wrote to say that he was glad Ministry of Health (MOH) has finally decided to restrict medical tourism in public hospitals.
Just last week, MOH told public hospitals to terminate all contracts with foreign agents who refer patients from overseas. As TOC understands, the practice of paid referral for foreign patients to be warded in local hospitals, has been going on for decades.
“I was glad to read today’s ST headlines that reported that MOH has decided to now restrict medical tourism in government restructured hospitals,” said the former Member of Parliament from People’s Action Party.
Mr Singh who served as a MP for 18 years, is of the view that public hospitals should serve the interests of Singapore residents first and leave medical tourism to private hospitals.
“I highlighted this in my FB post in 2014 which I have extracted here. Medical Tourism should be left to private hospitals only and government hospitals should serve only our resident population,” he added.
Inderjit Singh questioned MOH in 2014
In a lengthy commentary on his Facebook back in 2014, Mr Singh highlighted the issue of the bed shortage where Changi General Hospital had to pitch tents outside its hospital buildings to house Singaporean patients due to the lack of beds.
He expressed the shock he got when he discovered that all the government restructured hospitals (Singapore General Hospital, Changi Hospital and etc) are involved in promoting medical tourism around the region. He then questioned the wisdom of public hospitals promoting medical tourism to attract foreign patients from overseas when government services should be for Singaporeans and residents first.
“That is one example of poor planning and complacency that bed demand will never exceed supply.” wrote Mr Singh.
It took 4 years for MOH to realise the wisdom of Mr Singh’s words.