Singapore Health Budget 2009 increases to $3.7 billion

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ministry of Health's allocation for Government Budget Year 2009 has increased by almost $1 billion to $3.7 billion. This is an increase of 34%. Speaking in Parliament last week, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan highlighted where this funds will go to. The indicative spendings within the ministry include:

Subsidies for patients' bills$2.2 billion
Medical manpower boost$500 million
Infrastructure (hospitals and specialist centres)$700 million
Research & public health initiatives$300 million

In his speech to Parliament, Mr Khaw also listed some details of infrastructure projects his ministry is developing. These include:

  • the upcoming 556-bed Khoo Teck Puat Hospital - a new general hospital located in Yishun, expected to be operational in 2010;
  • the planned 700-bed Jurong General Hospital – a major new acute care hospital serving western Singapore, expected to be ready by 2015;
  • a new SGH Pathology Building that will house the consolidated pathology facilities of SGH in one departmental building. SingHealth group's laboratories' service capacity will be expanded at the SingHealth Research Facilities to be housed here as well. The building is expected to be ready in 2011.

Outlining the long-term plans for Singapore's health sector, Mr Khaw stressed the need to deal with the 'silver tsunami' – a reference to the changing demographics of an aging population with an increasing percentage of the elderly. To that end, his ministry foresaw a need to add 60% more community hospital beds over the next 10 years. And firms plans have been made to add two new 200-bedded community hospitals – one by 2013, next to the new Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, and another by 2016, next to the future Jurong General Hospital. Looking ahead, the Health Minister laid out the target of having one community hospital bed per five acute hospital beds by year 2020 (up from the current 1:8 ratio).

Similarly, for nursing homes, Mr Khaw said the number of beds will grow from the current 9,200 to 14,000 beds over the next ten years. This will be in the private and volunteer welfare organizations (VWO) sectors. The ministry will help set up five new nursing homes over the next two years.