Health initiatives

Making it easier to live healthily

Madam Julina Ahmad's stall in New Upper Changi Road offers healthier options. The Health Promotion Board has expanded the Healthier Dining Programme, so people can easily identify the better option.
Madam Julina Ahmad's stall in New Upper Changi Road offers healthier options. The Health Promotion Board has expanded the Healthier Dining Programme, so people can easily identify the better option.BERITA HARIAN FILE PHOTO

WAR ON DIABETES

It has been more than a year since Health Minister Gan Kim Yong boldly declared war on diabetes.

Since then, the Health Promotion Board has launched a barrage of schemes to make it easier for Singaporeans to live a healthy lifestyle.

These include the expansion of the Healthier Dining Programme to help people identify the better option, and online tools to assess diabetes risk. One in nine adults aged 18 to 69 here has diabetes.

It takes a while to change the habits of a community. In the year to come, the authorities could get an inkling of whether any of these schemes will bear fruit.

INSURANCE FOR DOCTORS

Should insurance coverage be compulsory for all doctors?

In July, the Singapore Medical Council said it is working with the Health Ministry to study a proposal on the issue.

Medical indemnity insurance can protect doctors against claims by patients if anything goes wrong. If the doctor is at fault, patients can be assured that they will be reimbursed financially. Any changes made next year will apply only to doctors in private practice.

What the premiums for such insurance look like, and whether the costs will be passed on to patients, remain to be seen.

TRAINING MORE GENERALISTS

The medical needs of Singapore's ageing population are growing but, at the same time, healthcare is becoming more fragmented.

It is not unusual to hear of an elderly person referred to different specialists for overlapping conditions. This is not ideal and the Health Ministry has said Singapore needs more "generalist" doctors trained to care for patients as a whole.

Some hospitals are already piloting schemes to reduce the number of doctors a patient sees. In the coming year, we could see more of such programmes.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2017, with the headline 'Making it easier to live healthily'. Print Edition | Subscribe