Parliament: Health Ministry reviewing security and contingency plans for hospitals, polyclinics

A hospital staff waits at the entrance of the Accident and Emergency Department of Ng Teng Fong Hospital.
A hospital staff waits at the entrance of the Accident and Emergency Department of Ng Teng Fong Hospital.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working with public healthcare institutions in Singapore to review their security plans, in light of the growing terrorism threat, Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said in Parliament on Monday (April 4).

Replying to a question by Dr Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC) on MOH's plans given recent announcements by the Ministry of Home Affairs to beef up counterterrorism measures here, Dr Lam said the review will cover preventive security, contingency plans to deal with different scenarios and threat levels, including terrorist incidents, and recovery strategies should an attack occur. The review will also examine the required competency of security personnel.

"In view of the heightened terrorism threat and the new modus operandi of terrorists, MOH and the public healthcare institutions are reviewing our security plans, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs," he said.

The review is expected to be completed within a few months' time, he added.

Public healthcare institutions currently have measures in place to provide "a baseline level of security" that includes day-to-day security operations such as CCTV surveillance, patrols and immediate responses to security incidents by security personnel, and access controls against unauthorised entry to restricted and sensitive areas, said Dr Lam.

The institutions, which include public hospitals and polyclinics, also work with the police land divisions to develop standard operating procedures and conduct familiarisation and emergency drills to test their preparedness and vigilance, he added.

 
 

Asked how private healthcare institutions will figure in the security review, Dr Lam said such institutions provide a similar baseline of security as their public counterparts.

"The private healthcare institution also form part of the public, police-led security and safety workgroup, where they meet regularly to share good practices and to enhance preparedness for security threats," he said.

"I would like to reiterate that it is not just the work and duty of the security personnel to keep Singapore safe.

"It is important that hospitals and the staff on the ground, as well as all Singaporeans, continue to remain vigilant and look out for any suspicious behaviour and items and report them promptly to the authorities," said Dr Lam.