The Straits Times says

Balancing healthcare costs and quality

That Singapore's healthcare receipts are rising faster than GDP growth, and that they are certain to go up even further, point to a situation that will become unsustainable eventually. Since 2010, national healthcare spending has almost doubled from $11 billion to reach $21 billion in 2016. Subsidies given out have risen, too - from $2.6 billion to $5.6 billion - pushing up government health expenditure, which increased from $3.9 billion to $9.3 billion. Since 2010, the number of doctors has gone up by 52 per cent and the number of nurses by 44 per cent. Correspondingly, the medical school intake has gone up from 300 to 500 a year, and the latest nursing intake of more than 2,100 students is a record high. Seven new hospitals have been built, adding a total of 3,800 beds when opened fully. These statistics underline the attention that the Government has been paying to healthcare.

However, its efforts are placed in perspective by demography, and by the fact that life expectancy went up to 84.8 years in 2017. The years lived in good health increased as well - to 74.2 years. While both increases are welcome, a closer reading of the figures shows that Singaporeans live about 10 years of their lives in ill health.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Balancing healthcare costs and quality'. Print Edition | Subscribe