No air-con in wards an outdated practice

I agree wholeheartedly with senior health correspondent Salma Khalik that air-conditioning is no longer a luxury but a basic necessity, especially in hot and humid Singapore (Review 'no air-conditioning' norm for subsidised wards?; Aug 17).

It is indeed a mockery of our health system to have the sick endure the discomfort of the weather as well as their illnesses, in the name of justifying the subsidy for C-class wards.

As Ms Khalik rightly pointed out, the outdated mentality of air-conditioning being a luxury dates back to the White Paper on Affordable Healthcare in 1993 and I am flabbergasted as to why the same old justifications are still being used to build public hospitals today.

If healthy people are already feeling uncomfortable in today's weather, it is not difficult to fathom how those who are bedridden and stricken with serious illnesses will feel in wards without air-conditioning.

As doctors and nurses need to regularly move around the wards to check on patients, providing air-conditioned comfort will not only be advantageous for patients, but for the welfare of staff and visitors too.

In today's world where temperatures are rising and people are dying of unbearable heat due to climate change, I fail to see why air-conditioned comfort is still being rigidly viewed as a compromise to justify ward subsidies.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2018, with the headline 'No air-con in wards an outdated practice'. Print Edition | Subscribe