More polyclinics to be built to provide more affordable primary care

The pharmacy at Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic.
The pharmacy at Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

By 2023, there will be six more polyclinics in Singapore, bringing the total to 26.

Four will be built in Sembawang, Eunos, Kallang and Bukit Panjang by 2020. Two more will start operations in Nee Soon Central and Tampines North by 2023.

"We will have more affordable, accessible, high-quality primary care all over Singapore," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in English at his National Day Rally yesterday.

He added that polyclinics such as that in Ang Mo Kio have been upgraded in recent years and others will follow suit.

"It is bigger and better, with more and improved services," Mr Lee said of the Ang Mo Kio polyclinic, which moved to a larger facility in January and reopened officially in June. "In fact, Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic has become so popular that the staff told me they are getting 'medical tourists' - not from overseas, but from Yishun and even Bedok and Jurong."

At the rally, Mr Lee also announced other initiatives to boost healthcare affordability. These include changes to the Community Health Assist Scheme and a new Merdeka Generation Package to help people born in the 1950s with their medical expenses.

"Singaporeans are indeed spending more on healthcare, partly because we have more advanced treatment options and better equipment," he said.

 

"But a bigger reason is Singaporeans are living longer and growing older, which means we are more likely to have more episodes of illness and more medical problems to treat."

He added that the Government is "very focused" on the costs of housing, education, and healthcare.

"We will spare no effort to ensure you can afford them."


GRAPHICS: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'More polyclinics, affordable primary care'. Print Edition | Subscribe