Confidence in the Healthcare System of Singapore

The decision to live in another country can be pretty daunting. One has to adapt to new environments, understand and abide by the country’s laws and regulations, and socially integrate with new people. One of the main concerns would be the reliability of the healthcare system. Without great healthcare, it may be a matter of life and death, or even suffering. 

Covid-19 Response

Covid-19 has shown the world how governments and its respective healthcare sector respond to an emergency. Lives of billions are at stake and economies are greatly affected. Singapore, however, is one of the few countries in the world that responded and acted swiftly.

With its strict Covid measures and efficient medical response, Covid deaths remain low even with high infection rates. Masks, hand sanitisers and disinfectants were encouraged for personal hygiene. In public and in private social distancing measures were implemented. Temporary makeshift hospitals are ready to be set up in case of a surge in infections, vaccinations are done periodically for all residents, and all medical costs due to Covid are absorbed by the government. 

Although the pandemic has affected Singapore’s immigration, food supply was not affected. In 2019, just before the start of the pandemic, Singapore was ranked 1st on the Global Food Security Index – an index that measures food security of countries in the world. The pandemic further proved Singapore’s food efficiency and logistics response. 

While most sectors of the economy were affected, Singapore managed to attract biotech and tech companies to set up offices in the country. This leads to an increase in job opportunities in these sectors. Instead of doing a full lockdown, Singapore allowed restricted movements in public and work from home arrangements. This helps the economy to keep moving albeit at a slower pace.

Singapore has proved itself to be a leader in healthcare and economic management during the worst crisis in recent years. Being on a world stage and displayed in such a positive light has made Singapore an even more desired country to commit to for the long term.

Mental Health Awareness

There is a rise in mental health awareness in recent years and is a burgeoning sub-sector in the healthcare scene in Singapore. About 1 in 3 young people in Singapore has mental health symptoms such as sadness, anxiety and loneliness. 

The government is developing national mental health resources on its HealthHub app. The government has also identified the need for a strategy to guide the alignment and track the progress of efforts around mental health across government agencies. Better alignment of mental health training resources and more trained mental health professionals are also being looked into.

Medical Efficiency & Technology

In the past 50 years, the average life expectancy in Singapore has increased from 64 years to 83 years. In 2021, the infant mortality rate in Singapore was approximately 1.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. These are the result of Singapore’s efficient healthcare system that keeps evolving according to current times. 

Singapore is well-known for its mixed healthcare financing system that allows affordability and accessibility. However, the technology used in its healthcare system helps increase its efficiency and usability. Due to the government’s control of its healthcare systems, medical records of its residents can be assessed on a common portal, making it easier to track their health, appointments, and prescriptions. Singapore aims to make health a personal responsibility of each resident and this is one of its efforts toward achieving this goal. 

Covid-19 has also encouraged the industry to innovate its services. In a bid to reduce physical contact amongst people and to be able to attend to more patients, Telehealth became popular. Telehealth is a medical service using telecommunications technologies to provide care and services from a distance. 

Medical Facilities & Infrastructure

The ageing population in Singapore might strain its healthcare infrastructure. About 23.8% of Singapore’s population will be senior citizens in 2030, and 50% of its population will be aged 65 and above in 2050. 

Singapore aims to almost double the number of eldercare centres to 220 by 2025 and also double the number of nursing home beds to more than 31,000 in the next 10 years. 

The government also has started an assisted living facility for the elderly via the Housing & Development Board (HDB). Known as the Community Care Apartments, the flats feature senior-friendly design features and subscriptions to care services, targeting home buyers aged 65 and above who want to live on their own but receive care if needed.

The Action Plan for Successful Ageing, which was launched in 2015, encompasses a system of proactive outreach, preventive health and active ageing programmes for seniors in every neighbourhood. For example, volunteers do home visits to engage seniors, and identify health and social needs, while preventive health services such as health screening and coaching are also offered.

Does healthcare in Singapore warrant long-term stay for foreigners?

In recent years, Singapore’s Covid-19 response has been praised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and it ranks first in healthcare readiness in APAC. Both local and foreign residents of all ages get to enjoy great healthcare in Singapore. General and specialised care are also provided to all. 

Healthcare is one of our basic needs as a human being and also one of the most important concerns when moving to another country. For sure, Singapore provides peace of mind in this aspect. Foreigners who plan to stay long-term in Singapore may consider various pathways to remain in Singapore. Reach out to us and evaluate how you can secure a place in Singapore via Immigration@SG (IASG). 

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