CNY brings relief to hospitals' bed woes

The Chinese New Year brought welcome relief to public hospitals in Singapore, with bed occupancy falling to an average of 66.3 per cent on Jan 31, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA 
The Chinese New Year brought welcome relief to public hospitals in Singapore, with bed occupancy falling to an average of 66.3 per cent on Jan 31, 2014. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA 

Occupancy drops to an average 66% on first day; fewer people seen at A&E

The Chinese New Year brought welcome relief to public hospitals here, with bed occupancy falling to an average of 66.3 per cent on Jan 31.

This is in marked contrast to earlier last month, when the hospitals faced a severe bed crunch.

Some were seeing more than 100 per cent occupancy on some days, with patients waiting for a ward bed having to be placed in a tent, along emergency department corridors and even in an area meant for mass decontamination.

Several hospitals needed to transfer some of their more stable patients to Alexandra Hospital, which had beds available.

Since the festive period respite, occupancy rates have climbed to 84.2 per cent last week, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

This is close to the weekly average in January, which ranged from 86.2 per cent to 88.7 per cent.

For the whole of the Chinese New Year week from Jan 26 to Feb 1, the average was 76 per cent.

A spokesman added: "Traditionally, bed occupancy rates during Chinese New Year will dip as patients may request to return to celebrate with their families. Doctors will try their best to facilitate the request if it is clinically appropriate.

"In addition, people tend not to opt for non-major surgery during the festive period."

Last year, the average bed occupancy rate on the first day of Chinese New Year was 69.9 per cent - or 5.4 per cent higher than this time.

There were also fewer people turning up at the emergency departments of the six public hospitals on the first day of the Chinese New Year on Jan 31 this year.

In all, 1,802 people sought emergency medical help that Friday, compared to the 2,394 who turned up on Monday that week.

salma@sph.com.sg

www.facebook.com/ST.Salma

 

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