Singapore healthcare system pros and cons

The Singapore healthcare system pros and cons are made simple in this piece of write-up.

Singapore healthcare is an outstanding one in Asia and the globe at large, however, with many benefits accruing from this system, there are equally many challenges the healthcare system faces.

On a general note, the public utilizes both private and public healthcare however, there is a preference for private over public because of convenience and time.

However, when it comes to complicated healthcare issues, people prefer to make use of the public over private healthcare due to the belief that public healthcare facilities are more equipped or sophisticated compared to private healthcare facilities.

Introduction to Singapore healthcare system pros and cons

Over the years, Singapore’s healthcare system has remained a benchmark for many nations as such is rated among the best health care system in the world.

The specific features of the Singapore healthcare system are unique and have been described as a very difficult system to replicate elsewhere.

Amidst these credits, there are also many that are not satisfied with the system thus the essence of this topic is to clarify this curiosity on the Singapore healthcare pros and cons.

The Singaporean healthcare system has a strong ground in preventive medicine and health and that gives a better edge in having an effective and efficient healthcare system.

The Singaporean healthcare system is supervised by the Ministry of Health of the Singapore Government. It largely consists of a government-run publicly funded universal healthcare system which is delivered through various schemes.

About 2 decades ago, Singapore was ranked by the WHO as the 6th of the world health care systems. In 2017, the Bloomberg Global Health Index ranked Singapore as number 4 in the world.

Singapore healthcare system pros and cons

Below we will be looking at some of the Singapore healthcare pros and cons which are essential for everyone to know; but first and foremost, let’s consider the pros which are the reasons why the healthcare system keeps soaring.

Singapore healthcare system pros and cons THE PROS

The pros of this health care system are the good points and the advantages which are not limited to the ones listed below;

  • Low cost of medications
  • Technologically driven health facilities
  • The public-private balance
  • Good regulatory governance
  • Good information sharing
  • Relatively cheaper healthcare system
  • Functional insurance schemes
  • Free Home hospice services

Low cost of medications

When one talks about Singapore’s health care system, one of the things that comes to mind is the low cost of drugs/medication.

The big question now is, how do they manage to bring the cost of their medications that low? Most of the drugs in circulation in Singapore are manufactured in neighboring countries like Malaysia.

The ease in shipping and proximity alongside effective government policies facilitate the low cost of medication in Singapore as such people pride in their health system.

Technologically driven health facilities

The globe advances with the advancement in technology. Having a health institution that is not technologically innovated is a decay to the health system.

Singaporeans strive to make sure their health facilities are modern and updated for efficiency in healthcare service delivery. These technologically driven facilities are pros in the Singapore health care system.

The public-private balance

Singapore’s universal health coverage system is largely overseen by the government’s Ministry of Health but also includes maximum support from citizens and the private sector.  Also, the government weighs its citizens’ values as a social determinant of health.

Good regulatory governance

Through welcoming government policies, there is an encouragement of free-market competition and choice, the government makes substantial targeted investments in areas where market failures would make healthcare costs unaffordable.

This approach is among the pros of the Singapore healthcare system, it also controls the dominant public hospitals and supply of doctors.

Good information sharing 

In this blog post on Singapore’s health care pros and cons, one of the advantages of this health care system is that everything you need to know about the system is made clear.

And clever communication relationship that encourages output is created in the system as such this is a proper engagement in different health sectors.

Relatively cheaper healthcare system

Singapore is famous for its exemplary health care standard. It is positioned amongst the best systems in Asia and the globe at large.

The government of Singapore ensures that medical care is accessible and available to everyone. However, it is essential to note this about Singapore’s national health scheme.

No medical service is provided free of charge, regardless of the level of subsidy, even within the public healthcare system.

To promote competition, the Singapore health Ministry publishes the costs of procedures at every hospital as such helping to curb overpricing amongst that is the effective national price controls and top-down management.

The government sets limits on bills paid under Medisave or Medishield, as well as the number and kind of services you can receive. For instance, advanced diagnostic tests require a wait if you expect to pay for them through Medisave or Medishield.

Although through relevant policies and approaches put in place, the healthcare services are cheaper compared to most nations of the world.

Functional insurance schemes

The government adopts a diversified but integrated process that involves Individual saving plans for acute medical care consumption, and a defined coverage for medical insurance.

singapore healthcare system pros and cons

Singaporeans are automatically enrolled in Medishield, a low-cost insurance program for major or prolonged illnesses that their Medisave balance won’t cover. Medishield has a deductible and copayments along with government-defined benefits.

If you can’t cover your costs through Medisave and Medishield, the government steps in to cover doctors’ bills for chronic or acute conditions and some dental work. There are special funds to cover needy children and prenatal care.

Free Home hospice services

Home hospice services are free and there are subsidized options for home nursing and long-term care for seniors. If you can’t afford the cost, you may get subsidized care in a private nursing home.

Singapore healthcare system pros and cons THE CONS

Let’s take a look at some of the cons that come with the Singapore health care system. There is a saying that everything that has advantages has disadvantages also, however, this is no exemption from the healthcare system of Singapore.

Amidst the pros of the Singaporean health care system, there are also these challenges as stated below;

  • Low labor costs
  • Heavy dependence on institutions
  • Expensive Long-Term Care Costs
  • Long Waiting Hours in Hospital

Low labor costs

Among the cons of the Singapore health care system is that the medical staff are among the overworked medical staff worldwide, and receive in general less than half the pay of US medical staff.

It is important to note that the working hour restriction DOES NOT apply to healthcare workers.  I would say, most health workers work an average of 60-90 hours weekly.

Heavy dependence on institutions

Singapore’s healthcare system relies heavily on institutions that were the most effective method of tackling healthcare issues in the past.

That is so because they focus mostly on preventive medicine and centralization which was key in treating patients with acute diseases like smallpox and tuberculosis.

This approach is currently a move in the wrong direction and is considered among the cons of the Singapore health care system because the ranging diseases that are threats to the health care system currently are chronic diseases which may include but are not limited to diseases like liver failure, diabetes, and cardiac ailments.

Expensive Long-Term Care Costs

It is very common for the aged to suffer from dementia or other neurological conditions; however, long-term care is expensive despite subsidies.

Caring for older people is very demanding and costly even in nursing homes. Lack of Long-Term Ageing Alternatives.

Usually, the first point of healthcare is the institutions, whether it is the clinics or hospitals and for long-term care, patients’ options are also limited to institutions like a community hospital or a nursing home.

Long Waiting Hours in Hospitals

This is among the cons of a universal health care system generally. There is always the tendency of people to wait in the queue for a longer period of time most especially in public hospitals because one would have access to the doctors.

This is usually tiring and considered among the cons of the Singapore healthcare system.

Conclusion on Singapore healthcare system pros and cons

There is no doubt, that this is a benchmark for many and as such stands out among the best in Asia and the globe at large.

However, they strive toward being better and there are many things to be reconsidered. Amidst the commendation of the Singaporean healthcare system, it is equally important to note that there are challenges this healthcare system faces as outlined above.

We are open to recommendations and suggestions. Kindly air your view in the comment box.


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