Singapore Budget 2018: Social, healthcare services for the elderly to fall under MOH

The Government will also be reviewing the ElderShield scheme, with an update expected later this year.
The Government will also be reviewing the ElderShield scheme, with an update expected later this year. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - From April, all social and health-related services for seniors will be consolidated under the Ministry of Health (MOH), with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) designated as the central implementation agency.

This will help streamline the delivery of services for the elderly, as their social and healthcare needs are closely related and bear an impact on their well-being, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Feb 19).

The social aged care functions under the Senior Cluster Network and other programmes that currently fall under the Ministry of Social and Family Development will be transferred to MOH from April 1.

In addition, the Pioneer Generation Office (PGO) will merge with the AIC and become its outreach arms in implementing the Community Network for Seniors (CNS) initiative.

CNS, which was introduced as a pilot in 2016 and will be expanded nationwide by 2020, brings government agencies and community partners together to promote active ageing, befriending, and care for vulnerable seniors.

The PGO, which will reach out to those aged 65 and above, will be renamed the Silver Generation Office to reflect its new, enhanced role.

The Government will also be reviewing the ElderShield scheme, with an update expected later this year.

 
 

The insurance scheme helps those with severe disabilities to cope with the financial demands of their daily care.

To ensure that the scheme remains affordable, premium subsidies for lower- and middle-income Singaporeans will be provided.

This year, two funds that support seniors in ageing confidently will also receive top-ups.

There will be a $300 million top-up to the Community Silver Trust, which provides dollar-to-dollar matching for donations to eligible voluntary welfare organisations providing long-term care services.

To provide greater support for the elderly, the fund will be expanded to match donations raised for active ageing programmes as well.

Since 2011, the fund has matched around $500 million in donations raised by more than 80 voluntary welfare organisations.

The Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund, which provides subsidies for assistive devices and consumables for seniors, will receive a $100 million top-up.

Another $150 million will be spent over the next five years on transport to subsidised eldercare and dialysis centres.

The fund will be reviewed in the coming years to ensure that the subsidies remain targeted.