In view of the serious challenges coming Singapore’s way, Singapore Minister of State for Health, Mr. Chee Hong Tat has stated a firm view that the current healthcare system is unsustainable.

In his view, it is necessary to ensure effective collaborations between all those involved in the healthcare ecosystem, as well as to determine the efficiency of current healthcare processes, so as to equip ourselves with the capability to deal with these challenges.

The two main, obvious challenges Mr. Chee referred to, that Singapore is likely to face in the not-so-distant future, are: 1) An ageing society, as evidenced by a rapidly ageing population, and 2) A slowing economy. The combined effect of these two issues will undoubtedly lead to increased healthcare burden, the likes of which, the current Singapore healthcare system is not equipped to handle.

Mr. Chee added that current healthcare processes can be improved on, for example, the amount of paperwork that nurses have to complete just to satisfy auditors, which takes precious time that could be used for direct patient care. He described this as "worrying", and that "Over time, we're very good at adding new requirements, but not so good at removing outdated and obsolete requirements."

The issue of a rapidly ageing society has been on the Ministry’s radar for some time, as evidenced by the introduction of the Regional Health Systems (RHS), in which the country has been effectively "split" into six different regions or healthcare clusters. Each of these clusters is taken care of by an RHS. The six regions are: North (Alexandra Health System, anchored by Khoo Teck Puat Hospital), East (Eastern Health Alliance, anchored by Changi General Hospital), Central (National Healthcare Group anchored by Tan Tock Seng Hospital), Southwest (National University Health System, anchored by National University Hospital), West (Jurong Health,anchored by Ng Teng Fong General Hospital), and South (SingHealth, anchored by Singapore General Hospital).

The RHS system aims to transform the direction of healthcare delivery, from traditional episodic and hospital-centric-care, to more holistic care, where patients are viewed as a "whole person" and healthcare is seen as a more lifelong process, such that this is not left as a problem to deal with during old age. The RHS system also aims to provide better care with more options for frail patients, such that they can choose to take more control over their own conditions instead of relying on a healthcare professional. MIMS