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In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing Singapore’s healthcare system today and how is MOH looking to address these challenges?
Ching Yee: An ageing population results in quite a conundrum, as the decreasing old-age support ratio as a result of the shrinking workforce will mean fewer available resources at a time when we need it the most. It is thus imperative that we find ways to meet these growing demands. However, it’s important to bear in mind that high healthcare expenditures do not always guarantee better health outcomes, which is why we must invest strategically in areas that will not only deliver good healthcare outcomes, but also remain at a sustainable level of affordability for both current and future generations.

MOH is already working on meeting these challenges head-on. As outlined in the Healthcare 2020 plan, we are in the process of building a more comprehensive aged care system and developing new models of care. In addition to infrastructural development, this includes more effective management of chronic diseases and the development of more robust intermediate and long-term care and support frameworks through the provision of community hospitals, daycare centres, homecare services and nursing homes to complement the acute hospitals. We are also looking to bolster preventive care and renew our focus on primary care providers as the first line of healthcare within the community.
What sets the public healthcare sector apart from other industries?
Ching Yee: Singapore’s public healthcare sector is a fast growing one. Government spending on healthcare has been projected to grow to S$12 billion by 2020, up from S$4 billion in 2011. The construction of new hospitals and care facilities will create many new career opportunities for those who wish to grow professionally and contribute to the sector in a variety of ways. It also provides good career opportunities which are not as susceptible to the unpredictability of business cycles.

Healthcare professionals have plenty of opportunities to take on meaningful responsibilities. Given the variety of professions available in healthcare, individuals will be able to pursue their own niche interests and make a positive difference in people’s lives! In addition, they will embark on a journey of continuing education, where many eventually go on to acquire advanced training or qualifications to further specialise or take on more complex work.

Overall, public healthcare is a very exciting and dynamic industry, where healthcare professionals are required to constantly keep up with an expanding body of knowledge and skills and broaden their minds.
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