SINGAPORE - Hospital and polyclinic fee increases are needed because of higher operating costs, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.
The fee increases will also allow the institutions to improve the quality of their service, he added in a written parliamentary reply to a question from MP Lee Bee Wah on Monday.
Ms Lee had asked how many times public health institutions have raised their fees in the past three years, and whether they have to justify such increases to the Health Ministry, as well as if the public is told of the change in fees.
Mr Gan said different institutions raise fees at different times but "only after careful consideration".
The new fees are reflected on a healthcare intitution's websites and at their registration counters. Patients are also told of the higher fees if financial counselling is provided, he said.
The ministry also works with these institutions to "minimise the impact on patients", he said, highlighting the better subsidies that middle to lower income as well as the Pioneer Generation now get at hospital specialist clinics and polyclinics.