Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr. Janil Puthucheary, assures Members of Parliament that Polyclinics will allocate slots for walk-in patients with urgent medical needs and elderly patients with mobility issues as several MPs addressed the Minister with supplementary questions during the parliamentary session on Tuesday (4 July), highlighting feedback from residents, particularly seniors, who encountered challenges while attempting to book appointments online.
Singapore Health Minister Ong Ye Kung revealed that, on average, 1,200 foreign healthcare workers have obtained permanent residency (PR) status annually in the last five years. Mr Ong stated in response to a parliamentary question that in the past year, more nurses were granted PR status to recognize their essential role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and to support Singapore’s growing healthcare needs.
The age limit for elective egg freezing (EEF) in Singapore has been raised to 37 years, instead of the initially proposed 35 years. This decision is based on a review of local and international evidence indicating stable success rates for egg freezing up to the age of 37. Only legally married couples can utilize their frozen eggs for procreation. Gender equality advocacy group AWARE welcomed the change but called for the removal of restrictions on in-vitro fertilization for non-married individuals.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health reports increased patient volumes in hospital emergency departments, raising median wait times for ward admissions from five to 7.2 hours. Hospitals are implementing measures to optimize bed capacity and patient flow while urging the public to seek non-emergency care at GP clinics and polyclinics.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) will be consolidating vaccination operations across Children Vaccination Centres (CVCs) and Joint Testing and Vaccination Centres (JTVCs) from 17 April 2023. MOH plans to streamline the vaccination centres to allow for greater flexibility to scale up operations when necessary. Effective 15 April 2023, the CVCs located at Our Tampines Hub, One Punggol Hub, Queenstown Community Centre, Sembawang Community Club, and Taman Jurong Community Centre will close down. Vaccination for children will be relocated to selected JTVCs from 17 April 2023. With this transition, there will be a total of six JTVCs offering COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 6 months to 11 years old.
Patients should take note of the upcoming changes to cancer coverage under Integrated Shield Plans, effective from 1 April. The changes introduced by Singapore’s Ministry of Health aim to control rising healthcare costs, while ensuring cancer treatments remain accessible and affordable for Singaporeans. However, oncologists have expressed concerns that the coverage after the change will not be sufficient for many who do not have riders to cover the compulsory deductible and co-payment.
The Tripartite Workgroup, comprising the Ministry of Health (MOH), healthcare institutions, and healthcare unions, has recommended adopting a standardised zero-tolerance policy against abuse and harassment of healthcare workers in any form. The recommendations came after an extensive engagement with more than 3,000 healthcare workers and over 1,500 members of the public. The workgroup found that more than two in three healthcare workers had witnessed or experienced abuse or harassment in the past year. The most common forms of abuse and harassment include shouting, threats by patients and/or caregivers, and demeaning comments. Minister for Health, Mr Ong Ye Kung, fully supports the recommendations and says that abusive behaviour towards healthcare workers is not acceptable.