On Monday (3 Feb), Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Edwin Tong informed Parliament that the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments at public hospitals nationwide offer adequate services to manage all life-threatening emergencies.
He disclosed that the local private hospitals are not configured to manage all life-threatening emergencies or cases involving multiple patients with serious injuries.
Mr Tong was responding to questions raised by Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Joan Pereira and Non-Constituency Member of Parliament, Daniel Goh in Parliament on the preparedness and the ability of A&E departments at private hospitals to handle severe trauma and accident cases. The questions were posed in light of a car accident at Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road last year.
Those injured were brought to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) instead of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, a private hospital which was only 200 meters away from the scene of the accident. To this the Minister said, TTSH, being a public hospital, is far better equipped to handle such emergencies. Meanwhile, most private hospitals are not adequately equipped to accommodate such cases.
Two women died at the hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the accident, while four others treated for serious injuries. All six passengers were Filipino domestic helpers.
Elaborating further, Mr Tong, said A&E departments at eight designated public hospitals across the island offer adequate coverage and treatment facilities for emergency cases in Singapore.
They include Changi General Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Sengkang General Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The A&E departments at public hospitals are capable of providing resuscitation, stabilization and comprehensive treatment for all life-threatening emergencies, including trauma cases for adults and children. Moreover, public hospitals conform to standards of trauma care that are set by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
On this Mr Tong said, MOH has been having continuous engagement with private hospitals about improving their capabilities in managing emergency care.
At present, private hospitals do not offer a full range of emergency and trauma services that are required to manage all life-threatening emergencies or situations involving multiple patients with serious injuries.
For the past four years, MOH has been collaborating with Raffles Hospital to handle non-life threatening and urgent Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulance cases. Mr Tong adds MOH manages the training pipelines for emergency medicine and surgical specialists “to ensure that there are sufficient capabilities to meet national needs”.