In 2012, there were a total of about 10,756 hospital beds in the 25 hospitals and specialty centres in Singapore, giving a ratio of 2.0 beds per 1,000 total population. About 85% of the beds are in the 15 public hospitals and specialty centres with bed complements between 185 to 2,010 beds. On the other hand, the 10 private hospitals tend to be smaller, with capacity ranging from 20 to 345 beds. The Government's role as the dominant health care provider allows the Government to influence the supply of hospital beds, the introduction of high-tech/high-cost medicine, and the rate of cost increases in the public sector which sets the bench mark in terms of pricing for the private sector.
The 8 public hospitals comprise 6 acute general hospitals (SGH, NUH, CGH, TTSH, KTPH & AH), a women's and children's hospital (KKH) and a psychiatry hospital (IMH). The general hospitals provide multi-disciplinary acute inpatient and specialist outpatient services and a 24-hour emergency department. In addition, there are 6 national specialty centres for cancer, cardiac, eye, skin, neuroscience, dental care and a medical centre for multiple disciplines.
Within the public hospitals, patients have a choice of the different types of ward accommodation on their admission. 81% of the public hospitals' beds (class B2 and C) are heavily subsidised with the remaining 19% with lower subsidy at 20% for class B1 and no subsidy for A class wards. In 2012, the average length of stay in the public acute care hospitals is about 5.8 days while the average occupancy rate is around 85%.
The Government has restructured all its acute hospitals and specialty centres to be run as private companies wholly-owned by the government. This is to enable the public hospitals to have the management autonomy and flexibility to respond more promptly to the needs of the patients. In the process, commercial accounting systems have been introduced, providing a more accurate picture of the operating costs and instilling greater financial discipline and accountability. The public hospitals are different from the other private hospitals in that they receive an annual government subvention or subsidy for the provision of subsidised medical services to the patients. They are to be managed like not-for-profit organisations. The public hospitals are subject to broad policy guidance by the Government through the Ministry of Health.
The Government has also introduced community hospitals for intermediate healthcare for the convalescent sick and aged who do not require the care of the general hospitals.