Resolving the hospital bed crunch is not just a matter of expanding capacity, but is also about changing Singapore's care model, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the topping-up ceremony of the new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on Monday morning.
This would mean changing the focus to be "less reliant on actual hospital beds, more reliant on community care, as well as home care," Mr Gan said.
One of the ways to do this is to strengthen the primary and long-term care sector, providing patients with alternatives to hospitals when they need medical attention.
"The bed situation will remain tight because given our ageing population, the demand for hospital beds will always be there," said Mr Gan.
"We will look at how hospitals can work with polyclinics and GPs to better manage the chronic conditions of the elderly patients in the community at home, so they don't have to come to our hospitals so often."