Better subsidised home and community services are on the cards as private operators have been invited to join voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) to bid for them, said Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor yesterday.
These services include home nursing, day care and day rehabilitation services.
All operators can now take part in the Ministry of Health's (MOH) Build-Own-Lease tenders for the provision of subsidised aged care services, she said.
Previously, most subsidised home and community services were provided by VWOs.
The change in policy would help Singapore scale up capacity and provide affordable care for a greying population, she said.
Capacity was an issue, given feedback about long waiting lists at certain care centres, said Ms Ellen Lee (Sembawang GRC).
But this has already improved somewhat, Dr Khor noted, citing how an elderly patient now faces a shorter wait of about 20 days for admission into day care, down from 30 days last year.
When it comes to choosing providers of home and community services, the Government will look at care models and affordability of fees, she added. The Government may also request more bundled services for future centres.
Recently, it solicited proposals from private organisations and VWOs for a senior care centre at Ci Yuan Community Centre in Hougang. Providers had to tender to operate day services in the senior care centre as well as offer home-care services out of the centre.
Extending the tender of subsidised services to private operators is part of an ongoing effort to expand home and community services for seniors to age in familiar surroundings.
"We want to fulfil our seniors' aspirations to age in place and enable their children to take care of their parents at home for as long as possible," Dr Khor said.
Besides expanding capacity, the Health Ministry will also pay close attention to the quality of home and community care.