Singapore health ministry starts talks on not-for-profit private acute hospital model

The Singapore Ministry of Health (MoH) is inviting private healthcare operators to participate in an industry consultation for a new not-for-profit private acute hospital model. The industry consultation will be held from January to April 2024.

Mount Alvernia Hospital in Singapore is, reportedly, at present the island nation’s only private not-for-profit acute hospital. Photo courtesy: MedTravelAsia

An acute hospital provides a form of secondary care, especially for any injury and illness that needs urgent attention. These hospitals offer inpatient facilities for short-term care, as opposed to long-term care for chronic ailments.

According to an MoH media release: “With increasing demand for healthcare services [in Singapore] due to an ageing population, acute hospital bed capacity needs to be increased in both the public and private healthcare sectors.

“The new not-for-profit private acute hospital model is meant to provide more options for Singaporeans who wish to seek care in the private healthcare sector.”

The health ministry said that the new privately-run acute hospital model would incorporate the following features:
● Not-for-profit, i.e., profits are not distributed to its shareholders and are instead reinvested into the hospital and/or for charitable and other not-for-profit activities
● Provide appropriate and affordable care to patients, with a stronger emphasis on cost efficiency and value
● Focus on serving mainly Singapore Residents
● Provide some subsidised acute bed capacity

“Participants of the industry consultation will be invited to provide feedback on the proposed acute hospital requirements and suggest ideas on how the key objectives for the new hospital model can be achieved. More details will be released to participants upon successful registration,” said the MoH release.

“Interested private healthcare operators can register their interest at Registration will close on 21 January 2024. Successful registrants will be notified via email,” it added.

High demand for hospital beds in Singapore

Reporting on the news of this consultation, The Straits Times said: “MoH data shows that demand for hospital beds [in Singapore] remains high, with the daily occupancy rate at public hospitals ranging between 72.5 per cent and 100 per cent in the last week of December.”

The report added: “As at 2022, Singapore had 19 acute hospitals — which focus on treatment and surgery — of which 10 are public and nine private.”

The newspaper said that Mount Alvernia Hospital in Singapore was at present the island nation’s “only private not-for-profit acute hospital”.