Private hospitals, patients urged to do their part in keeping healthcare costs down

SINGAPORE - Both private hospitals and patients have been urged to play a part in helping to keep health care affordable.

On Saturday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong encouraged the private sector to do more to address concerns about affordability and price transparency. Earlier in September, his ministry began publishing "total operation fees" - which include surgeon, anaesthetist and facility fees - for 65 common procedures in public hospitals.

"We will continue to work to improve transparency of healthcare charges," he said. "I encourage the private sector as a whole to place more weight on addressing this important concern of Singaporeans."

He added, however, that the general public also needed to make informed decisions and guard against over-consumption. Speaking at the official opening of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, he warned: "The most expensive treatment may not be the best. The latest technology they read about on the Internet may not always be better, or may not even be suitable for their conditions."