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HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Singapore PM warns that healthcare spending is rising faster than GDP

The government’s healthcare expenditure exceeds $9b a year.

Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed that even though the government’s healthcare expenditure exceeds $9b a year, it will continue to rise faster than the country’s GDP, according to his speech at the official opening of Sengkang Hospital Campus.

Because of this, the prime minister noted that they would need to find other ways to fund its healthcare spending in the medium term.

“But at the same time, we have to think hard about what we must spend on, and which drugs and procedures are cost-effective. And we have to make hard choices and I hope we will have the support of Singaporeans when we make them,” Lee said.

Lee added the nation’s healthcare spending was smaller than those of most developed countries as Singapore had a younger population before and has only begun ageing.

“But the main reason is because we have structured our system properly, and built in the right incentives to guard against overconsumption of healthcare services,” Lee continued. “And yet we have to watch carefully how heavily the government subsidises healthcare. Not just to save taxpayers’ money, but to avoid encouraging over-treatment by doctors and over-consumption of healthcare services.”

He also said the government is shifting towards a ‘more patient-centric, multidisciplinary approach’, having more services available in one location, as they are in need of new facilities for the rising number of patients.

This growth is attributed to Singapore’s ageing population, increasing cases of chronic diseases and fewer people to look after its seniors. 

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