NewsSingapore Introduces Not-For-Profit Acute Hospital Model

Singapore Introduces Not-For-Profit Acute Hospital Model

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Singapore’s Health Minister, Ong Ye Kung, has highlighted the potential of a new not-for-profit private acute hospital model introduced last month to expand options for affordable private healthcare. Responding to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament Dr Tan Wu Meng, Mr Ong emphasized the importance of diversifying acute hospital models to complement the existing public healthcare landscape.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on January 8 the need to increase acute hospital bed capacity in both the public and private healthcare sectors due to rising demand, particularly from Singapore’s aging population. The not-for-profit private acute hospital model aims to provide more choices for Singaporeans seeking care in the private healthcare sector.

During a parliamentary session, Mr Ong noted the complementarity of the public and private healthcare systems, acknowledging that while most private hospitals are high in cost, there are a few, such as Mount Alvernia Hospital, that offer lower-cost alternatives. The MOH’s objective is to enhance options for lower-cost private hospitals, creating a more comprehensive range of healthcare choices for Singaporeans.

Mr Ong clarified that the proposed not-for-profit aspect of the new private hospital model is not the primary feature. Instead, key elements include the requirement to primarily serve Singaporeans, stronger governance with only one healthcare license, and collaborative teamwork among various healthcare professionals.

To ensure cost-effective care, the government intends to impose bill size restrictions on the private hospital, emphasizing a commitment to avoid a high-cost care model. Land price will not be the sole criterion for determining the hospital operator, with other factors such as serving primarily Singaporeans and ensuring strong governance also being evaluated.

Mr Ong stressed the importance of a varied healthcare system in Singapore, citing a shift in the share between public and private hospital workload. He highlighted that a diversified system, including lower-cost private hospitals, allows well-insured residents to opt for private care, reducing the load on the public healthcare system.

Responding to questions about constraints on the new model, Mr Ong preferred not to make pre-judgments, emphasizing the ongoing industry consultation. Dr Tan Wu Meng inquired about the absence of a second Mount Alvernia Hospital-like model in Singapore, to which Mr Ong cited the ongoing expansion of public healthcare and the need for careful development to prevent a bidding war for healthcare professionals and talent. Despite these challenges, Singapore aims to accommodate one more affordable private hospital.

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