Public vs Private Hospitals in Singapore: Which is better?
Healthcare in Singapore is often rated as efficient and world-class – medical technology in Singapore is often advancing and healthcare practitioners are very established members of their field. As a result, medical tourism in Singapore is among the top in the region and foreigners are often seen flying in just to receive medical care from hospitals in Singapore. As Singapore healthcare is so highly rated, what then is the difference between private and public hospitals in Singapore?
Singapore public hospitals are generally subsidised by the government. Meanwhile, one has to pay a premium to enjoy the exclusivity of the private hospitals. While the cost of treatments and surgeries are not publicised on the hospital’s websites, their room rates are.
Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is a public hospital in Singapore and its cheapest ward (ward class C) starts from SGD 35 (MYR 105) a day. This ward has a total of 9 beds per room and is not air-conditioned. Singapore Citizens will be eligible for government subsidies should they choose to stay in this ward.
Ward class A is available for those who prefer a little more privacy as there will only be one single bed in this ward. Additionally, this ward has an attached bathroom and patients will be given a choice for their meals. Patients staying in this ward can expect to pay at least SGD 466 (MYR 1399) per day. While SGH is a public hospital, patients who choose to stay in ward class A will be charged as private patients during their outpatient appointments.
Over at Mount Elizabeth, a private hospital in Singapore, room rates start at SGD 276 (MYR 829) for a 4-bedded room. Each patient will be entitled to a television with 8 different channels, toiletries, and free Wi-Fi. But for those who wish to recuperate in ultimate luxury, Mount Elizabeth offers a Royal Suite that is truly fit for royalty. Not only is this suite furnished with the finest amenities, but patients will also have a personal butler to attend to all their needs. The en-suite bathroom even comes with luxury toiletries and a bathtub. Take a virtual tour of the Royal Suite here. The cost of staying in this suite? SGD 5588 (MYR 16,775), or 160 days in a ward class C bed over at SGH. (Psst, this isn’t even Mount Elizabeth’s most expensive suite!)
As land in Singapore is scarce, real estate tends to be expensive especially in the central area of Singapore. Public hospitals in Singapore thus tend to be located in the outer regions of Singapore where land is relatively cheaper. Perhaps the only exception to this is SGH, which is located in the central region of Singapore. Conversely, a majority of the private hospitals in Singapore are located in the town area. This makes it more accessible for their patients, many of whom are medical tourists.
Although Singapore hospitals are known for their efficiency in treating patients, this isn’t always the case. At the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department, waiting times at public hospitals can often be as long as 9 hours! Due to bed crunch issues, the patient to bed ratio was so bad that patients had to be temporarily housed in tents or put in the covered carpark in the worst-case scenario. More hospital beds have been added since. Yet, during times of sudden influx of patients, they may still have to make do with a bed along the corridor.
On the other hand, Mount Elizabeth has claimed that their average waiting time at A&E is 30 minutes. However, they will be giving priority to patients who require immediate medical care so the half an hour is merely an approximation.
Singapore healthcare has proven to be one of the best in the world and there is no doubt about that. Regardless of whether you go to a public or private hospital in Singapore, you can definitely expect the same standard of healthcare. Depending on the medical treatment you have received, you may require a larger vehicle to accommodate your crutches or wheelchair when leaving the hospital. Booking a private hire car will allow you to select a vehicle of your choice to ensure that all your belongings would be able to fit in. The Travel141 International Car Rental service will be launching soon, so do subscribe to our newsletter below in order to receive regular updates.
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