Thursday, January 9, 2014

Looking Like A War Zone

Speaking at the Singapore Anglican Community Services 100th Anniversary Charity Gala Dinner in Dec 2013, Lee Hsien Loong made the dubious claim that more social spending does not mean better results. As an example, he pointed out that the Americans spend more on healthcare than anybody else in the world, 18% of GDP. Singapore budgets only a minuscule 4% of our GDP for healthcare, and our life expectancy is longer and infant mortality rates are lower. The difference is that the cost of staying alive here is depleting our own savings intended for retirement needs. Unlike in America, there's no social security here.

"It is the results which count, not how much you spend, not how much the government takes onto itself," he boasted. One result of that parsimonious attitude towards healthcare spending is that we now have a shortage of hospital beds, with patients ending up in corridors or tented facilities associated with disaster relief zones.

Changi General Hospital (CGH) started housing patients waiting for beds in a large make shift air-conditioned tent this week. Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has been forced to set up 49 beds along the corridors of its wards to cope with the shortage. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) resorted to sending patients to Alexandra Hospital, one of the few public hospitals with spare beds.

Chief executive Loh of Mount Elizabeth Novena explained that private hospitals usually aim for occupancy rates of 70 to 75 percent. If occupancy rates cross 80 percent, "it means on that on peak days they could cross 100 percent and our responsiveness will be affected." For private hospitals, Loh said, that is not acceptable. The picture is obviously quite different at our public hospitals. TTSH, CGH and KTPH all experienced more than 92 percent bed occupancy last week. At the National University Hospital (NUH), the occupancy rate was already 80 percent. Squeezed out of public housing, transportation, educational institutions and work place, we are now also squeezed out of hospital wards. Has the target 6.9 million population been breached?

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong claims to have seen the growing demand for hospital care some years ago - suggesting he has been sitting on the problem for quite some time - and that the Government has (finally) begun building more hospitals. In the meantime, "we are actively working to tackle the current crunch in a few hospitals," he said. Foresight is obviously not the forte of this bunch of clowns.


  1. How does he know the "results" are good? Because he compares American "results" of longevity and mortality with red dot! Did he compare with Scandinavia, western Europe who spends more? And how can he be sure that the red dot's longevity comes from the government's policies? I would argue the red dot's still "close to the bottom of the developed world" healthcare statistics are the result of the people spending their own money, this having far less to spend on everything else. Any family with income lower than median with one or more sick elderly at home knows the burden. The garmen is throwing what it is elected to do, saving the money to pay their fat cat bonuses and squander in F35 and IMF Greece bailout. How do they know big bonuses will bring better governance? Because lee said so?

    1. Well it could be that because more and more Singaporeans do not have much to spend on rich foods, therefore live longer.

      And maybe NOTHING to do with LKY nor PAP govt policies either. So don't try to take the credit where it is not due.

  2. This is what you get for paying ministers millions for their forward thinking, planning and over-the-horizon radar.

  3. It's so stressed to live in tiny red dot. With an increasing population but limited job opportunities and infrastructure, everyone is fighting for the piece of meat. What a scary scenario. The worst has yet to come.

    1. I wonder what are the bed charges in these tents, 50, 70 % discount ? This will go some way to make medical costs really affordable.
      Perhaps pitching tents instead of constructing buildings is the way forward to accommodate 6.9M on this island. Tents actually provide the flexibility to solve the variable demand for hospital beds and they can be dismantled and reassembled ....or even operated around the island like a mobile hospital.
      Perhaps Khaw B W should introduce this concept to public housing shortage as well by constructing tents under the HDB scheme and make HDB once and for all truly affordable to anyone on this island.

    2. The rates are higher. Becos they're offering alfresco medical treatment.
      Also, special service, becos they had to specially set up the tent/bed etc for the patient.

    3. Patients should be given the option to bring along their own tents and hence pay lower rates.
      So far nothing mentioned about toilet and bathroom facilities....housed in an adjacent tent ?

  4. The substantial increase in health care costs and the substantial increase in the premiums for Medishield and Integrated plans, some by as much as 100%, must have led many people to downgrade and hence cause stress in the public hospitals that you see today. Very soon some roads have to be closed to make way for hospital beds. Private hospitals will be reserved only for the very very rich.

  5. I wonder how they intend to cope with the current existing prisons keeping criminals who committed serious crimes behind bars effectively...

    What is next if capacity is not enough? Built giant bird cages to housed these criminals with serious crimes in the open for people to gawk at? Or throw them to a isolated off shore island off singapore to fend for themselves?

    Or make prison sentences shorter don't care how serious the crimes or give the occasional free get out of jail card easily to make life easier for the "gov't" and the so called "planners/policy makers"?

    And how many of these "freed" or early released criminals went back to their original habits?

    These "people in charge" seems to forget this is NOT SIM City where one can screw up and re-play the game again...this is real life with real living people.

    Interesting no?


  6. Do be prepared for the

    Final Rites.


  7. They have already breached the border between pragmatic and amoral. They are now flirting with the boundary between amoral and immoral. Worse than clowns actually. Beyond negligent.

  8. Latest in healthcare, alfresco health treatment. Enjoy a bypass, chemo, childbirth under the stars and sip your latte at the same time.

  9. Why not set up a tented hospital at the Istana?
    Lots of space.
    Any problem can straight away complain to PM and President.
    Some more.
    Got Gurkha to provide security at no extra cost to the patient.

    Hospital bed under a tent.
    What class is it?
    B1 or C class?

    1. We pretend we "own" our HDB flats.
      So now we can also pretend we are in a "real" hospital.
      And pretend to have the best healthcare system in the world.
      And pretend to have the best poolitical leadership that money can buy.

      It's like playing "masak, masak" when we were a poor, 3rd world country.

    2. Too bad we can't pretend to make payment.

    3. a class of its own

  10. We will fight them everywhere.
    Paraphrasing a certain person with a fetish for up-sticking hands, appropriating Churchill (no less).

    1. He has the makings of a riot leader. Just watch.

  11. The previous housing minister created a deliberate shortage in public housing, driving up prices while insisting it was still affordable. What better way to increase Medishield premiums to clean out the balance in the CPF?


  12. Many studies have shown that except for repetitive tasks, higher pay means poorer performance.

    IThe perfect example is our highest paid ministers in the world trying to repeat their failures across the full spectrum of governing the red dot.


    1. Highest paid ministers and civil servants mean higher cost of living for everyone. Where do you think the money for their salaries come from? They are from taxes, ERP, property tax, GST etc. collected from us.

    2. Ministers' Millionaire Salary:
      Do they have to pay income tax on it?

    3. Ministers' Millionaire Salaries
      They pretend they are working for us.
      We pretend their work actually benefit Singaporeans.

      As long as we all can pretend.
      Then we are all one big happy famiLee.

    4. Pretend you're happy when you're sick and broke.

  13. We were assured by the mad Khaw that quality of life would be the same or even better, with good long term planning and infrastructure built ahead of time, with the mantra "prepare for the worst, but and hope for the best".

    Fat hope! We are mired in a deep malaise everywhere, and getting worse. But however regrettable things appear, look at it on the bright side. The more cock-ups there are, the more they will rue their ideological brain lock and the 6.9 million population white paper. They seem bent on self-denial and self-destruction. The final retribution will be at the polls.

    1. For people who are supposed to have academic smarts, it's amazing what slow learners they are from their mistakes...

  14. I would have believed Chia Shi Lu's lamentation that the shortage was due to holiday season, blaming it on unfilial children who leave their sick and elderly in hospitals.

    But when you look at the reports about bed crunch by ST throughout the various period ,

    Nov 2010
    Jan 2010
    June 2011
    Aug 2011
    Jan 2012
    Feb 2012
    July 2013
    Feb 2013

    What does the trends above tell you? Are all these reported bed crunch situations been solely happening only in Dec? How about June? Is Chia going to suggest that children are dumped in hospitals during school holidays by their families too?

    Pathetic excuses.

    1. Are you saying Chia's diagnosis is wrong?

  15. Did anyone has the usage study by the public hospitals?
    I wonder what are the ratio of use by foreigners/PRs versus locals. Until you get the breakdown, you are not going to know where the actual cause of the crunch is.
    If beds are already insufficient, do you think nurses/doctors are sufficient too?
    How much are the resources utilized at the expense of the locals? How much is attributed to medical tourism?
    Some journalists ought to do a more thorough questioning job.

    1. /// Some journalists ought to do a more thorough questioning job. ///

      forget it.
      If this a solution, then why no Singapore journalist have ever won the Pulitzer prize?

      vote more opposition to ask questions in parliament.
      - National Conversation no use
      - Hong Lim Park no use
      - Committee of Inquiry no use

      Questions directed to PAP Millionaire Ministers.
      This is where it makes a difference.
      No politician wants to be caught lying on record in parliament.

  16. Each month (maybe week) a new ministry create a monumental cock-up, the papigs get another rope tied around their necks to hang themselves. The group thing and cronyism among the scholars, whether politicians or top civil servants is clearly preventing the papigs from realizing a fatal flaw of the pap system of mixing up politics and civil service. The more the politicians try to shield and protect the fat cat civil servants responsible for the cock-ups and blame the voters instead, the deeper they are digging their own political graves. Stranger than Alice in Wonderland!

    1. Agree.
      Best way to get rid of the papigs is to give them enough rope to hang themselves.

      This is the Workers' Party strategy.
      WP simply refuses to engage in any form of National Conversation with PAP.
      After all, why interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake to paraphrase Napoleon Bonaparte.

    2. All for one, one for all.
      It's all done in sympathy for each other.

  17. He should compare his salary with that of Obama and than tell us what he think of both country GDP relative to their leader salary.