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MOH Holdings Shaping the Future of Singapore’s Public Healthcare By Koh Wanzi
profile-img Today, Singaporeans enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. However, the growing numbers of elderly who require extended care will stretch the resources of our public healthcare system. We speak to the Permanent Secretary for Health, Mrs Tan Ching Yee, to find out how the Ministry of Health (MOH) aims to help our healthcare system evolve alongside these challenges.Singapore’s public healthcare sector is a fast growing industry that is racing to stay ahead of and anticipate the demands of a greying population. The opportunities in this sector are boundless, and there is a growing demand for nurses and Allied Health professionals such as diagnostic radiographers occupational therapists and speech therapists to provide holistic care.
To this end, the Healthcare Scholarships aim to develop a strong Singaporean core of bright and passionate healthcare professionals with the heart and desire to make a difference in the health and lives of their countrymen. Tan Ching Yee, Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for Health, tells us about the plans that MOH and the various healthcare clusters have for the future and the exciting growth opportunities that aspiring healthcare scholars can look forward to.
What are some of your responsibilities as Permanent Secretary (Health)?
Tan Ching Yee: I am involved in the planning of strategies to ensure that the national healthcare system meets the needs of Singaporeans. I also look into policies to make sure that the public healthcare system continues to deliver affordable, accessible and high-quality care, so that Singaporeans can live well, live long and with a peace of mind. The work is wide-ranging, from reviewing subsidies in outpatient clinics, to planning for new aged care facilities in every neighbourhood.In addition, I work closely with our key partners such as the Health Promotion Board to implement public education campaigns that promote healthy living and preventive care. After all, prevention is better than cure and a robust healthcare system informs and provides the public with the resources they need to maintain their good health.
Share with us some key highlights from your time at MOH.
Ching Yee: In my two plus years here, I was glad to be able to support the Minister for Health in reviewing key healthcare financing policies, which resulted in three major shifts on the policy front. These included enhanced subsidies to help lower- and middle-income patients in outpatient settings and an extension of Medisave usage to include additional scans and diagnostic tests beyond MRI and CT scans for cancer patients. Furthermore, we will be introducing MediShield Life – a universal health insurance programme for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) – at the end of 2015. Under MediShield Life, all Singaporeans and PRs will receive coverage even if they have pre-existing conditions or were previously rejected by insurers. This is really a big step forward in providing accessible and affordable care for all!I also enjoyed the many opportunities to interact with healthcare leaders and the different groups of healthcare professionals such as nurses, Allied Health professionals, doctors, dentists and administrators who work together as a dedicated team to deliver the best care for patients.