What is this I hear? The Singapore General Hospital is running its patients out of the hospital, and early in the morning too? And they are not even ready to be discharged. So much so that the patient had to go to another government (euphemistically known as Restructured) hospital to 'clean up' whatever SGH had neglected to do.
This is shocking. And to think that we, Singapore, supposedly have the best medical care in this region! This is embarrassing for the government, and particularly for the Health Minister, Mr Khaw Boon Wan. This is embarrassing for Singaporeans. How can we hold our heads high in front of foreigners now over our supposedly tip-top medical services, never mind that their reputed high standards come also at a high price tag. Yes, Minister Khaw has apologised to the nation about delaying the building of the Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital in Yishun. He said in Parliament that he should have done it 2 years earlier than when it was actually started. But hey, it is not Minister Khaw's fault alone. As the head honcho in the Health Ministry, the buck stops with him. But what happened to the top talent in the Government Ministry - you know, those who are this scholar and that scholar, the best performers in our national level exams - the 'A' levels, and who are sent to the best Universities in the world on Singaporean tax-payers' money? You know, the local talents that are supposed to be the best and brightest in the civil service? Aren't they paid to think, or are they just pushing papers and holding meetings ad-nauseam? How can such a thing happen in Singapore? In Singapore!
Today, these very tax-payers, who paid for our local talents' development, and/or their dependents, face the real possibility of being run out of a public hospital just as sick or even more so when they were first admitted.
Some people in the Health Ministry did their sums very badly. Were they sleeping on the job? They can tell you about the greying population, as if making such an analysis required a PhD, but cannot think of building enough hospital capacity to take care of the populace's needs in good time. Did they not read the statistics that the government obsessively produces regularly, or did they read and not understand? Was it the large sums involved in building a hospital that held them back? Well, the GIC goes around the world acquiring banks and easily lost billions of dollars in the process. What is S$200 million, or even S$500million to this government? You begin to wonder if they have got their heart in the right place.
So what if the government says that it will help any Singaporean who has difficulty settling their expensive medical and ward charges? If they can cut corners like this, where is the sincerity, one wonders? Just who is running the public healthcare services, particularly the hospitals, in Singapore, anyway? Why have they become so callous? Do they still find it a calling to heal the sick and the disabled? Or is it all a matter of $$$ and cents now? Are our public hospitals no more than a 'destination' and only those that have the means are guaranteed of not being run out of a hospital in Singapore?
The common saying among Singaporeans - 'never get sick in Singapore...(because it will bust your bank account)' has taken on a new meaning.
God help Minister Khaw, and the sick people in Singapore.