Affordable, quality healthcare a key concern: Reach survey

Feedback from members of the public suggested better coordination and sharing of resources and data between the Government, healthcare providers and social service sectors.
Feedback from members of the public suggested better coordination and sharing of resources and data between the Government, healthcare providers and social service sectors.PHOTO: ST FILE

One main concern among Singaporeans is getting access to affordable, quality healthcare, a pre-Budget survey has found.

Government feedback arm Reach gathered opinions from more than 2,500 Singaporeans from Dec 3 last year to Jan 11 to find out how they thought the Government can better support them. It published the results yesterday.

Many people called for better coordination and sharing of resources and data between the Government, healthcare providers and the social service sector.

They also called for a reassessment of how subsidies are allocated so they can better serve those who need them most.

Also of importance to Singaporeans is a conducive environment to start families. To that end, respondents asked for greater support in terms of access to housing, quality early childhood education and an improved work-life balance.

Other suggestions included providing more subsidised childcare services, school supplies and more outreach programmes to reach lower-income families.

Tapping a wider community network, like local grassroots organisations, would allow these children to receive more comprehensive support, they said.

 
 
 
 
 

Many Singaporeans acknowledged the need for the country to maintain a competitive edge, and suggested that companies foster a spirit of innovation by developing research capabilities and encouraging employees to undergo training.

They also noted the ongoing fight against terrorism and the need to stay vigilant and resilient, and suggested that the Government work with companies to instil in their employees the concept of total defence.

As for building a more caring and inclusive society, some participants said volunteering should be made compulsory for all tertiary students, while others suggested incentives for working adults to volunteer, such as tax rebates or days off from work.

Several respondents also asked for a higher representation of non-governmental and voluntary welfare organisations in Parliament so that the authorities can improve existing schemes.

Reach chairman Sam Tan said the feedback exercise gives Singaporeans from all walks of life the opportunity to let the Government know how it can better their lives.

"The Budget is about national priorities, and every Singaporean has a stake in it," said Mr Tan, who is Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development.

Apart from the key feedback themes, respondents said they hoped to see more financial support for middle-income families, and the cost of living kept low. Some also wanted greater transparency on government spending.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'Affordable, quality healthcare a key concern: Reach survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe