Follow childcare centre model to boost eldercare facilities

One way the Ministry of Health (MOH) can boostaged care facilities is to adopt the childcare facilities model (MOH to grow aged care services to meet rising demand; Aug 15).

The current practice is for the MOH to build the facilities, such as nursing homes and day-care centres, and lease them out to operators.

These operators have to submit proposals according to the MOH's request for proposal (RFP) guidelines.

Successful operators are then awarded the tenders to run the facilities.

Most of these operators are existing voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) that have experience in submitting such proposals.

The barrier to entry for new operators is very high because of the requirements stipulated in the RFP process. Subsidies aregiven only to operators who succeed in the RFP process.

The childcare centre model allows for any private operator to build and run a childcare facility according to the guidelines and requirements stipulated by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

After auditing, the MSF issues licences to operators who can then accept children into the childcare centre.

A basic subsidy is given to the childcare centre operators according to the number of Singaporean children they take in. Additional subsidies may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The MOH should issue the licensing guidelines and requirements for nursing homes, day-care centres, home care and other aged care facilities. It can then award the licences to operators who fulfil these guidelines and requirements.

Subsidies should be given to the operators according to the number and conditions of the elderly.

This would encourage more new private operators to come into the sector to provide aged care facilities instead of relying on the same pool of existing VWOs.

The resources of existing VWOs may be overstretched, which would affect their ability to ramp up to full capacity.

Ting Keng Soon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2018, with the headline 'Follow childcare centre model to boost eldercare facilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe