Singapore is 704 kilometres squared, making it one of the very few remaining city-states around the world.
Since its independence in the 1950’s, Singapore has continued to increase its standard of living. Foreign investments, along with island-wide industrialization, has created a more modern economy based on their electronics and manufacturing trade. Today, Singapore is noted as the 17th richest country in the world based on GDP. In fact, Singapore has more than US$147 billion in foreign reserves.
Singaporean healthcare overview
Singapore has one of the highest medical standards across Asia. In fact, this highly-industrialized nation is Asia’s regional centre of medical excellence.
The well-established healthcare system is composed of thirteen private hospitals, ten government hospitals and a number of specialist clinics, each one specialising in catering to the needs of different patients at varying costs.
Patients are also free to choose their healthcare provider, both within the public and the private healthcare system. The medical facilities of Singapore are considered one of the best in the world. Medical practitioners are well-trained and qualified. Furthermore, pharmaceuticals are widely available from a number of pharmacies and outlets that include department stores, supermarkets, shopping centres, and hotels. Registered pharmacists normally work between 9am and 6pm and there are some pharmacies that open to 10pm. Also, most hotels have doctors on call 24 hours.
What is Medisave?
Every working person in Singapore (Singapore Permanent Resident/ Singapore Citizen) and the self-employed are obliged by Singaporean law to make a payment to Medisave from their CPF (Central Provident Fund) account. These Medisave funds are used to pay for hospital expenses for the contributor as well as their dependents. These dependents have to be permanent residents or Singaporean citizens and can be a spouse, a child, a parent, or grandparent.
Hospitals in Singapore
Private and public hospitals in Singapore provide services that are highly regarded by expatriates, as well as those living in neighbouring countries. Both the private and public hospitals of Singapore are equipped with state of the art medical equipment in order to maintain the highest standards of medical services. Some hospitals that are noted as benchmarks in delivering top healthcare standards are the Singapore General Hospital, the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the National University Hospital, the Gleneagles and the Mount Elizabeth Hospital. These hospitals charge more than the government hospitals, which include the National University Hospital, Kandang Kerbau, Changi General Hospital, Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and the Ang Mo Kio Community Hospital.
Five of these government hospitals provide services for acute cases. They also have a specialist outpatient service that has 24-hour accident and emergency services. Additionally, Singapore has six specialty institutes for dentistry, neuroscience, cardiology, oncology, dermatology and ophthalmology. Furthermore, tertiary hospitals like the National University Hospital and the Singapore General Hospital specialise in fields such as renal medicine, cardiology, neurology, haematoma, radiotherapy, oncology, reconstructive and plastic surgery, neurosurgery, paediatric surgery, transplant surgery, and cardiothoracic surgery. Additionally, five other public hospitals provide specific functions including mental healthcare, maternity, sub-acute care and infectious diseases services.
There are also specialist hospitals such as the Singapore Heart Care Centre, the National Skin Care Centre and the Singapore National Eye Care Centre.
Important healthcare issues for expatriates
Prospective expatriates who are talking a regular course of medication should be aware that prescriptions from your own country are not valid within Singapore. All Singaporean pharmacies require medical prescriptions from locally registered medical doctors. With this in mind, patients will have to go to a local registered medical practitioner and consult their doctors. Patients should also bring their prescriptions with them so that the local doctor can easily prescribe the necessary drugs.
However, if one particular brand of drug is not offered in local pharmacies, the doctor may be able to prescribe a therapeutically equivalent drug; one that won’t compromise the treatments of the illness or the disease. Furthermore, patients can obtain new supplies of prescription drugs from the doctor himself, or obtain the prescription from the doctor and then present it to private pharmacies and have it filled.
Expatriates who seek inpatient services in Singapore can choose the type of room they stay in. For government hospitals, they can choose between a “class A” single room, and a “class B1”, a room with two beds. Medical fees in government hospitals are lower than those of private hospitals. Non-Singaporeans will also have to pay 30% more than the fees that are charged to citizens and permanent residents.