We thank Mr Chang Wei Meng and Mr Lim Tong Wah for their Forum letters (Wards without air-con too warm to rest well in, The Straits Times Online, Oct 1; Comfort should be a given for all patients, Oct 4).
Our public hospitals provide safe, affordable and effective care for patients. To keep subsidised wards affordable, they are designed to cater to essential patient needs. Patients who prefer air-conditioned accommodation may opt for A or B1 ward types.
Improvements have been made to the design and infrastructure of the subsidised wards of newer public hospitals.
These include building orientation and ward layout for better air temperature and air movement.
Newer hospitals also meet the Building and Construction Authority's Green Mark Platinum certification, which requires naturally ventilated spaces, including subsidised wards, to meet thermal comfort requirements.
Some older hospitals have infrastructure constraints but have implemented mitigating measures over the years as they underwent remodelling and renovations. These measures include spot-cooling to bring down the ambient temperature in specific locations.
New or old, all public hospitals also take additional measures when the environmental conditions warrant them, such as deploying portable air coolers and air purifiers in the event of a sustained severe haze.
We will continue to review and improve the design and infrastructure of public hospitals to improve thermal comfort for patients.
Low Chian Siong
Director, Infrastructure Planning and Policy Division
Ministry of Health