Singapore

Record jumps in hospital and clinic attendances

People here are either getting sick more often, possibly due to an ageing population, or seeking medical help more readily thanks to new government subsidies, given the record jumps in hospital and clinic attendances last year.

Hospital admissions increased by a record 9 per cent last year compared with 2015. It is more than double the annual increases of up to 4 per cent in the past decade.

Similarly, polyclinic attendance rose by 8 per cent over 2015 - eclipsing the annual increases of 0.2 per cent to 4.9 per cent since 2007.

Attendance at specialist outpatient clinics at public hospitals also spiked 5 per cent - the highest annual increase in a decade.

AGE

While hospital admissions rose in both the public and private sectors, the make-up of their patients is different - two in three admitted to private hospitals were aged 15 to 64, while only half of those in public hospitals were in this working age group.

The 8 per cent spike in patient visits at polyclinics saw the number of such visits hitting 5.3 million - almost 400,000 more than in 2015.

This is in spite of the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) subsidy that about half the population is entitled to when treated at a general practice (GP) clinic.

More than 2.5 million patient visits last year, compared with 1.3 million in 2014, were made to GP clinics with subsidy from Chas or with the Pioneer Generation subsidy that 450,000 seniors enjoy.

Increasing numbers of patients with chronic conditions who qualify for the Chas subsidy are also turning to GP clinics.

They made 675,000 visits to GP clinics last year, compared with 377,000 in 2015.

Between Chas and the polyclinics, the Government subsidised 7.8 million primary care consultations last year.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH (MOH)hospitalhealth