Govt should build more public hospitals

I agree with Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi ("Citizens' healthcare must remain the state's responsibility"; last Sunday).

The Government needs to review the policies and costs relating to public healthcare services here.

Many private hospitals here are operated by real estate investment trusts (Reits). Reits are under pressure to generate consistent yearly returns for their shareholders. This will only compound the rental cost of private hospitals and, consequently, their pricing.

Government hospitals, however, are built and operated with government budget and land.

With their different fundamental cost structures and objectives, public and private hospitals should not be benchmarked against each other. Rather, the Government should build more public hospitals and create more competition for private hospitals.

If healthcare costs are not appropriately contained, insurance premiums, including those for MediShield Life, can only escalate.

Ultimately, healthcare and hospice services for Singaporeans should always remain the responsibility of the state. If we dispatch our elderly or sick parents to neighbouring countries for cheaper healthcare and hospice services, we will face more stark consequences with an ageing population and changing demographics in the future.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'Govt should build more public hospitals'. Print Edition | Subscribe