We thank Madam Lily Ong for her letter (Air-con in subsidised wards a necessity, June 3) and other writers for their letters on the same issue.
Our public hospitals provide safe, affordable and effective care to patients. To keep subsidised wards affordable for patients, they are designed to cater to essential patient needs.
Patients who prefer air-conditioned accommodation may opt for A or B1 ward types.
Over the years, improvements have been made to the design and infrastructure in the subsidised wards of newer public hospitals for better patient safety and comfort.
They meet the Building and Construction Authority's Green Mark Platinum certification.
This requires naturally ventilated spaces, including subsidised wards, to meet thermal comfort requirements such as air temperature, air movement and humidity.
Newer hospitals also have fewer patient beds and an en suite toilet in each room.
Some older hospitals have infrastructure constraints, and they have implemented mitigating measures such as spot cooling to bring down the ambient temperature in specific locations, including subsidised wards.
All public hospitals also take additional measures when the environmental conditions warrant them, such as in the event of a sustained severe haze.
We will continue to review and improve the design and infrastructure of public hospitals, while bearing in mind cost implications so as to ensure Singaporeans' continued access to affordable healthcare.
Low Chian Siong
Director, Infrastructure Planning & Policy Division
Ministry of Health