Public hospitals here will be leasing beds from two of Singapore's largest private hospital groups, in a move calculated to alleviate the soaring demand for treatment and beds at public hospitals.
The occupancy rates at public hospitals is at 80 to 90 per cent, while that at private hospitals is at about 55 per cent, The Straits Times reported.
The health ministry has signed an agreement with Changi General Hospital (CGH) to lease some beds from Parkway Pantai group's Parkway East Hospital for subsidised patients, revealed Health Minister Mr Gan Kim Yong during yesterday's parliamentary session.
Thus, patients will be able to stay at Parkway East on subsidised rates while being managed by CGH's doctors.
Another similar agreement is under way with Raffles Hospital, where the hospital will take in some subsidised patients.
Further details on the agreements are unavailable as talks are still ongoing with the two private hospitals.
Parkway Est is owned by Parkway Pantai, the largest private health care provider in Singapore, which also owns Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospitals and the upcoming Mount Elizabeth Vovena Hospital.
Currently, the National University Hospital has been renting 30 beds from West Point Hospital since 2009.
Mr Gan also announced the addition of about 3,700 beds to acute and community hospitals.
He also said his ministry may start work on another new hospital before 2020, and a new community hospital is to be built in Outram.
In addition, the new Sengkang General Hospital and its sister community hospital, which are to be completed in 2048, has more than doubled its planned number of beds, from about 600 to 1,400 beds.
Mr Gan added that his ministry will continue to monitor demand closely.