Air-conditioning in subsidised wards

Work towards solution that is compassionate and fair

Nurses and patients in a ward of a hospital in Singapore.
Nurses and patients in a ward of a hospital in Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

I received quite a stream of feedback on my letter (Air-con in subsidised wards a necessity, June 3), and wish to address some of the points raised by readers.

An overwhelming majority pointed to the need for equipping subsidised wards with air-conditioning, citing reasons such as the agonising heat, the risk of disease-carrying mosquitoes, faster recovery time for patients, and providing an environment conducive to patients and medical workers alike.

Quite a number raised concerns about the medical bill: Will having access to air-conditioning mean higher costs for patients?

Although a few suggested that the cost would not be that significant since the hospitals are already equipped with centralised air-conditioning, we all understand that additional expense will certainly arise. So how much would this be, and who will bear it?

A small number shared that the elderly might find air-conditioning too cold.

I believe that can be managed by setting the general room temperature higher, with those who desire cooler air having access to a small table fan.

As an alternative, hospitals could consider retaining some non-air-conditioned wards; however, that will still leave some of the concerns unaddressed.

Indeed, the possibilities of heat stroke, haze and disease-carrying mosquitoes render the installation of air-conditioning in subsidised wards a matter of safety and not just comfort, making it all the more necessary.

I hope that by placing the issue on the table, there can be further collective deliberation towards finding a resolution that is fair, compassionate and operative.

Lily Ong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'Work towards solution that is compassionate and fair'. Print Edition | Subscribe