We thank Ms Helen Lim for her letter (Nursing homes shouldn't keep residents' identity cards, June 25 ).
It is important for the Government to have up-to-date addresses of persons living in Singapore.
Hence, the National Registration Act requires all NRIC (or IC) holders to report any change in their address to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority or the police within 28 days of the change. This includes the address of rented properties and nursing homes where the persons may be residing.
However, government agencies do not mandate the safe keeping of the ICs by any party. This includes nursing homes like the ones cited by Ms Lim.
We understand that some residents may request their nursing home to keep their IC so that they would not misplace it. But some nursing homes do it, for reasons like facilitating access to urgent medical services, where valid identification may be required.
In all such cases, the safe keeping of ICs must be done with the consent of the residents or their families.
Should a nursing home do this, it is required under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act to take reasonable measures to keep the IC safe.
We encourage nursing home residents and their families to discuss options for safe keeping possessions such as their ICs with their nursing homes, and to carefully review them, before providing such consent.
Patrick Ong (Supt)
Head of Public and Internal Communications Branch, Corporate Communications Division
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority
Director, Aged Care Services, Ageing Planning Office
Ministry of Health