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Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health (MOH)
The Ministry of Health’s vision is “Championing a healthy nation with our people - To live well, live long & with peace of mind”. MOH’s mission is to be an innovative and people-centered organisation to promote good health and reduce illness, ensure access to good and affordable healthcare that is appropriate to needs, and to pursue medical excellence.
A total of $4,181 million is allocated to MOH in FY2010 to achieve this mission.
Outcomes of Ministry
MOH has identified the following desired health outcomes in line with our mission:
Affordable & Good Quality healthcare for all Singaporeans appropriate to needs
Pursue Medical Excellence
To build a nation of healthy Singaporeans, MOH begins with focusing on health promotion and education as well as building up a strong public health system that is resilient against communicable disease threats and civil emergencies.
Health Promotion Board (HPB) is the main driver for national health promotion and disease prevention programmes targeted at increasing the quality and years of healthy life and preventing illness, disability and premature death. The HPB encourages Singaporeans to lead healthy lifestyles, have balanced diets, undergo regular health screening and build positive mental health. For FY2010, $112.18 million is set aside for the following main programmes:
Health and dental services for school children and Childhood Injury Prevention Programme;
Screening Programmes: Integrated Screening, BreastScreen Singapore, CervicalScreen Singapore etc;
AIDS Education Programme;
Mental Health Education Programme;
National Smoking Control Programme;
Workplace Health Promotion Programme.
Singaporeans must take personal ownership of their health. MOH will be placing greater emphasis on public education over the next few years including working more closely with industry, trade unions and schools to promote healthy lifestyle habits. MOH will continue to grow the network of organisations that promote healthy living.
Besides physical health, MOH will focus on mental health and well-being. MOH leads a National Mental Health Working Group that takes a Whole-of-Government approach to coordinate and drive initiatives to promote mental well-being. The initiatives of the National Mental Health Working Group have strengthened mental health care in the community, taking customised approaches for children, youths, adults and the elderly, and increased the awareness of Singaporeans on the importance of mental well-being through public education campaigns.
MOH will enhance community-based care options for persons with mental health issues. Community-based services will be targeted to help in the early detection and treatment of mental health problems and improve the reintegration of discharged patients into the community. These initiatives will improve health outcomes, provide greater accessibility to services and assistance to patients who require treatment.
A Strong Public Health System
In FY2009, the healthcare system responded promptly and robustly to the public health threat brought about by a novel influenza virus. The type A H1N1 influenza strain put into action the national response and pandemic preparedness plans drawn up post-SARS. An estimated $90 million was spent on measures to contain and mitigate the impact of H1N1, including coordination of response by the healthcare sector; funding for personal protective equipment and prophylaxis to protect healthcare workers and providers; infrastructure works for contact tracing and to restrict number of visitors at hospitals; in treating infected patients and in securing vaccine supply. MOH would like to thank healthcare workers, partners and Singaporeans, who worked in concert, against the H1N1 public health threat.
$84 million is set aside in FY2010 to build up capabilities to respond to potential emergency health situations, e.g. flu pandemic, mass casualty events, and tackle communicable diseases. MOH will continue to strengthen its close partnerships with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the international community to improve surveillance and counter emerging global infectious diseases.
Affordable, Good Quality Healthcare for all Singaporeans appropriate to needs
MOH is committed to ensuring that all Singaporeans have access to good and affordable healthcare that is appropriate to needs. This is achieved through the following:
A Robust and Sustainable National Healthcare Financing Framework
Singapore has always believed in maintaining a balanced approach to our healthcare system, with objectives of having financial risk protection to the individual Singaporeans through the 3Ms framework as well as financial sustainability to the nation. This multi-tiered healthcare financing framework has served us well thus far in ensuring that the vast majority of hospital bills remain affordable for Singaporeans.
For FY2010, a total of $2,017 million is set aside as subsidies for Singaporeans seeking medical care at the polyclinics, public hospitals, specialty centres and step-down care institutions run by voluntary welfare organisations, e.g. nursing homes, community hospitals, day rehabilitation centres for the elderly and hospices. On 1 Jan 2009, MOH implemented means-testing for the subsidised B2 and C Class inpatient admissions. The objective is to focus government subsidies on the needy. The subsidy framework in the Intermediate and Long-term Care (ILTC) settings has also been enhanced through finer gradations to the subsidy tiers to moderate the bill size difference between subsidy tiers. In addition, patients at the margin of each income tier will receive higher subsidies. The enhanced framework is being phased in, and started with the community hospitals in July 2009. The enhanced subsidy framework had also been rolled out to inpatient hospices from Oct 2009.
Besides Government subsidies, the current 3M financing framework (Medisave, MediShield, Medifund) has to be continually refined to support our mission for healthcare to remain affordable to all Singaporeans.
In the last 3 years, Medisave has undergone a series of refinements to remain relevant to the needs of the population e.g. increase in inpatient per diem withdrawal limits and MRI/CT scans for cancer treatments, expansion of Medisave to cover treatments of 6 chronic conditions, schizophrenia, major depression and pneumoccocal vaccinations for children, increase in Medisave withdrawal limits for surgical procedures and will continue to enhance MediShield’s coverage of catastrophic Class B2/C bills and achieve greater coverage.
MOH is also strengthening the safety nets to ensure that needy Singaporeans will have continued access to healthcare. With the slowdown in the economy, MOH has advised the Medifund committees to look out for needy cases to render appropriate assistance. MOH expects a larger Medifund disbursement in FY2010.
ElderShield is an affordable severe disability insurance scheme to provide insurance coverage for elderly Singaporeans who require long-term care. In 2007, Eldershield reform brought about greater payout and longer payout period with ElderShield Supplement to those who prefer additional severe disability coverage.
For Singaporeans who are not eligible to join ElderShield due to the age limit or pre-existing disabilities, the Interim Disability Assistance Programme, or IDAPE, provides the desired medical coverage for the long-term care required. A total of $14.8 million is set aside to help the elderly pay for their ElderShield premiums and as subsidy payouts for Singaporeans under IDAPE.
Managing Patients Holistically through Integrated Healthcare Services – Strengthening Primary Care, Intermediate & Long-Term Care and End-of-Life Care.
The healthcare system should be patient-centric and patients should be cared for at settings that are most appropriate and beneficial. MOH will continue to improve the quality of services provided by the acute hospitals. In addition, MOH will work towards fostering greater integration between healthcare providers in the primary, step-down, acute care sectors. In 2010, MOH will work closely with healthcare providers on pilot integration programmes, such as through establishing common treatment protocols between acute and community hospitals, partnerships with the primary care sector to follow-up on patients discharged from hospitals, the use of telemedicine etc.
Having the patient cared for at the appropriate setting will allow resources to be focused and strategically applied to where they are most needed within the healthcare delivery system. MOH will continue to work with stakeholders to upgrade the capabilities in the Primary Care Sector, especially in the management of major chronic diseases in the community. With our VWO partners, MOH will also enhance manpower development and training schemes to transform the ILTC sector to address the challenges of a rapidly ageing population. The Agency for Integrated Care was established as a separate entity in August 2009 to foster integration between healthcare providers and to improve the quality and standards of care in the primary and ILTC sectors.
Information Technology is an important enabler of integrated care. The National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) will provide national health informatics infrastructure to enable relevant patient information to be shared amongst healthcare providers to improve the standard of care. The NEHR will be implemented in phases, with the first phase expected to be ready in 2010.
Continual Investment in Healthcare Manpower and Infrastructure
With the ageing population, healthcare needs will increase and change in nature. Our manpower and infrastructure capacity must grow in tandem with the growing and evolving healthcare needs of Singaporeans.
$400 million is set aside for our healthcare workforce to ensure adequate staffing, effective recruitment and retention of staff and to meet skills gaps and develop capabilities. In FY2010, MOH will implement a new postgraduate medical education system to ensure our future doctors receive more focused education and training that enables them to cater to future patient needs and enhance their capabilities to provide high quality care.
Efforts are underway to expand our healthcare facilities, including in the restructured hospitals and the Intermediate and Long Term Care (ILTC) sectors.
New Facilities: New restructured hospitals include the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), which is expected to open progressively from March 2010, and the new Jurong General Hospital (JGH). The new buildings of the National Heart Centre and the Pathology Education and Research are expected to be completed in 2012; whilst the new National University Health System Integrated Medicine Complex, which will house the National University Cancer Institute and new Specialist Clinics will be completed in 2013.
Upgrading existing facilities: Improvement works are ongoing at the major public hospitals to cater to changes to workflow in the delivery of care, expanded manpower, and improve patient experience. Major improvement works include the expansion of Tan Tock Seng Hospital Emergency Department, re-furbishment of the National University Hospital Main Building, improved wards at the Singapore General Hospital and road improvements within both Kent Ridge and Outram campuses.
Plans are also underway to develop new ILTC facilities to address the needs of the aging population. Community Hospitals will be built next to KTPH and JGH. MOH is also working with VWO partners to expand Nursing Home Capacity. Plans to build new nursing homes are in the pipeline.
Pursuing Medical Excellence
The pursuit for medical excellence ensures that our national healthcare system keeps pace with global medical advancements. Clinical research and knowledge-driven care will help develop new standards in medical excellence and raise the quality of medical care for Singaporeans.
Investing in Knowledge-driven Healthcare
To keep up with advances in biomedical science and develop new clinical treatments for Singaporean, MOH, in partnership with A*STAR, the Ministry of Education, the National Research Foundation and the National Medical Research Council, will invest $57 million in clinical and translational research. Another $15 million has been set aside for the Health Services Development Programme to develop new clinical services. These initiatives will augment Singapore’s medical capabilities in our public healthcare system and help position Singapore as the premier regional medical services hub.
Promoting High Standard of Medical Care
MOH has developed national standards of healthcare, starting with public sector hospitals, to ensure that healthcare provided by our healthcare institutions are appropriate to needs based on current evidence and clinical knowledge. These standards will enable MOH to reaffirm areas in which that we have done well and those needing improvement. These measures are benchmarked locally as well as internationally to promote continuous improvement and will evolve with developments in our healthcare delivery system and as new medical knowledge and evidence becomes available. To safeguard public health, MOH and HSA will also continue to invest in developing capabilities in progressive regulation and enforcement.
To find out more about Ministry of Health and our initiatives, please feel free to visit our website.