PI ETA Consulting Company
Home Our Singapore Our Lifestyle Food Paradise Shopping Zone Tourist Guide Alpha Explorer Funny Bone

General Information Back to HealthCare

Health Delivery System in Singapore

There is a dual system of healthcare delivery in Singapore. The public system is run by the government while the private system is provided by private hospitals and general practitioners. The healthcare delivery system is made up of primary health care provision at private medical practitioners' clinics and outpatient polyclinics, and secondary and tertiary specialist care in the private and public hospitals.

The eight public hospitals comprise of five acute general hospitals (SGH, NUH, CGH, TTSH, AH), a hospital obstetrics & gynaecology and paediatric medicine and surgery, a psychiatry hospital and one community hospital. The five general hospitals provide multi-disciplinary acute inpatient and specialist outpatient services and a 24-hours accident and emergency service.

In addition, there are 6 specialty centres for eye, skin, cancer, heart, neuroscience (study of nerve system) and dental. Liver transplant surgery is centralised in one of the larger hospitals, the National University Hospital while the kidney transplant surgery is centralised in both the Singapore General Hospital and National University Hospital. Heart transplant is carried out by the National Heart Centre, while Lung Transplant is carried out together by the National Heart Centre, the National Cancer Centre and the Singapore General Hospital.The private hospitals have similar specialist disciplines and comparable facilities.

80% of the primary healthcare services is provided by the private practitioners while the government polyclinics provide the remaining 20%. For the more costly hospital care, it is the reverse situation with 80% of the hospital care being provided by the public sector and the remaining 20% by the private sector.

The public healthcare delivery system was re-organised into two vertically integrated delivery networks, National Healthcare Group (NHG) and Singapore Health Services (SHS). This is to enable more integrated and better quality healthcare services through greated cooperation and collaboration among public sector healthcare providers. This system will minimise the duplication of services and ensure optimal development of clinical capabilities.

Patients have the freedom to choose which provider within the dual healthcare delivery system for services and can walk in for a consultation at any private clinic or any government polyclinic. For emergency services, patients can go at any time to the 24-hour Accident & Emergency Departments located in the government hospitals. The Singapore Civil Defence Force also runs an Emergency Ambulance Service to transport accident and trauma cases and medical emergencies to the general hospitals.

Health Status in Singapore

The state of health in Singapore is good by international standards. The infant mortality rate in 1999 stood at 3.2 per 1000 live births while the average life expectancy rate was 77.6 years. Rising standards of living, high standards of education, good housing, safe water supply and sanitation, a high level of medical services and the active promotion of preventive medicine, have all helped to significantly boost the health of Singaporeans. The leading causes of morbidity and mortality are currently the major non-communicable diseases such as cancer, coronary heart diseases, strokes, diabetes, hypertension and injuries. Cancer and cardiovascular diseases together accounted for approximately 62% of the total causes of death.

Health Manpower

Singapore today has about 5,154 doctors for its healthcare delivery system. This gives a doctor to population ratio of 1:730. Slightly less than half of the doctors (48%) are in the private sector. About 42% of the doctors are trained specialists with postgraduate medical degrees and advanced speciality training.

There are 942 dentists, giving a ratio of 1 dentist to 4,130 population. About 77% of the dentists are in private practice.

The nurse to population ratio is 1:244, with a total of about 15,947 nurses. 55% of the nurses work in the public sector.

National Healthcare Expenditure

In 1999, Singapore spent about S$4.3 billion or 3.0% of GDP on healthcare. Per capita healthcare spending was S$1,347. Government subsidy on the public healthcare services was S$1,089 million or 0.8% of GDP in 1998.