Healthcare in Singapore: The Present and Future

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Singapore’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world, with impressive health outcomes achieved at less than half the costs in comparable countries. The country’s rapidly evolving economy and social progress have helped accelerate the milestones of healthcare development in the country. In this article, we will explore the present and future of healthcare in Singapore.


Healthcare Financing

Singapore has achieved universal health coverage through a mixed financing system. The country’s public statutory insurance system, MediShield Life, covers all Singaporeans and permanent residents for life, regardless of age or pre-existing conditions. The government also provides subsidies for lower-income households and the elderly to help them afford healthcare.


As of 2017, Singapore had 18 acute care hospitals: nine public hospitals, eight for-profit hospitals, and one not-for-profit Catholic hospital. The majority of public-hospital patients are admitted through emergency departments, making up more than 70 percent of admissions. Admissions to private hospitals tend to be elective.

Healthcare Costs

Singapore’s average annual healthcare inflation was 2.6 percent, compared to 2.3 percent for all goods and services, between 2007 and 2017. Singapore’s national health expenditures stood at 4.47 percent of GDP in 2016. Between 2009 and 2016, the government’s share of health expenditures increased from about 32 percent to 41 percent due to increased public subsidies, which are intended to help reduce out-of-pocket costs. Correspondingly, the out-of-pocket share of health expenditures fell from 43 percent to 31 percent.

Healthcare Performance

Singapore’s healthcare system ranks among the best in the world in terms of infant mortality rate, longevity, disability-adjusted years, and so on. The country’s health status indicators are good, and the low cost at which they have been achieved stands out among other high-performing countries.


Aging Population

Singapore’s population is aging rapidly, with the proportion of residents aged 65 years and above expected to increase from 14.4 percent in 2019 to 25 percent in 2030. This demographic shift will put pressure on the healthcare system, as older adults tend to have more complex healthcare needs.

Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer are becoming more prevalent in Singapore. In response, the government has launched initiatives to promote healthy living and prevent chronic diseases. For example, the Health Promotion Board runs programs to encourage healthy eating and physical activity, while the National Cancer Centre Singapore provides cancer screening and treatment services.


Singapore is embracing technology to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes. For example, the government has launched the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system, which allows healthcare providers to access patients’ medical records electronically. The NEHR aims to improve care coordination and reduce medical errors.

Healthcare Workforce

Singapore is facing a shortage of healthcare professionals, particularly nurses and allied health professionals. To address this, the government has launched initiatives to attract and retain healthcare professionals, such as offering scholarships and training programs.

Singapore’s healthcare system has achieved impressive health outcomes at a low cost, making it a model for other countries to follow. However, the system will face challenges in the future, such as an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases. By embracing technology and investing in the healthcare workforce, Singapore can continue to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare to its residents.


Singapore’s healthcare system is often held up as an example of excellence, and for good reason. The country has achieved universal health coverage through a mixed financing system, with approximately 70-80% of Singaporeans obtaining their medical care within the public health system. The government’s share of health expenditures has increased in recent years, with the aim of reducing out-of-pocket costs for citizens.

Singapore’s healthcare system is also known for its low costs and high-quality care. The country’s delivery system is geared towards raising up all its citizens, rather than achieving excellence in a few high-profile areas. Primary care is provided mostly by the private sector, with about 80% of Singaporeans receiving care from general practitioners.

In addition to its healthcare system, Singapore is also home to many world-class medical facilities and healthcare professionals. The country’s healthcare industry is constantly evolving, with the role of technology becoming increasingly important.

Overall, Singapore is an excellent place to seek medical treatment. Its healthcare system is efficient, affordable, and of high quality. With its focus on promoting healthy living and preventing disease, Singapore is a model for the world in terms of healthcare.