Addenda to President's Address: Caring Society

1             While most Singaporeans enjoy more opportunities to build better lives for themselves and their families, many feel more anxieties and uncertainties about the future. To address their worries and give all Singaporeans greater peace of mind, the government will strengthen our social safety nets. Our philosophy is upstream prevention, providing more for those with less and sharing the risks of life’s uncertainties so that no one has to deal with his problems alone. Underlying this is the spirit of a caring society, where we care for one another and share the fruits of progress with all.

2             We recognise that older Singaporeans are concerned over their retirement income and eldercare options. The government will do more to help the vulnerable and elderly. The Pioneer Generation Package will honour this special group through extra support for their healthcare needs. We will also improve the healthcare system for all Singaporeans. By 2020, we will build 6 new polyclinics and add over 11,000 beds in our acute hospitals, community hospitals and nursing homes. We will keep healthcare affordable, through government subsidies, Medisave and the new Medishield Life, which will be implemented by the end of next year.

3             The Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA) has enabled Singaporeans to continue working longer. Together with unions and the corporate sector, we will study the experience with the RRA, with a view to further extending the re-employment age beyond 65.

4             We will review and enhance financing schemes to help with the cost of severe old-age disability and long-term care. We will enhance the current system of CPF savings and the CPF Life annuity scheme, to enable Singaporeans to be better provided for in retirement, and to give them peace of mind.

5             The government will work with our tripartite partners to do more for the lower-income and disadvantaged groups. We will roll out the Progressive Wage Model in relevant sectors, and put in place career progression pathways for our workers to upgrade themselves and gain better wages. This will complement existing schemes like the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) and the Special Employment Credit (SEC), and make older, low-wage workers more employable. We will also build a more integrated network of social service agencies to help individuals and families walk through the difficult times together.

6             The community and family play a critical role in realising a caring society. We will continue to reinforce the central role of the family in our society and help young people start their families. We will have more programmes to promote family life and strengthen marriages, and more eldercare and childcare services to support caregivers. We will support community initiatives so that all who wish to contribute to the community can do so in sustained and impactful ways. Together, we will build a nation with a giving spirit and foster a more caring society.

7.         The details of specific initiatives by MOH are highlighted below.

 

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

  • Continue to add more healthcare facilities in primary care, acute care and intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) settings.  We will add over 11,000 acute hospital, community hospital and nursing home beds from 2014 to 2020. Another six new polyclinics are planned to be built by end-2020.
  • Develop a variety of health and aged care facilities and services within the community. We will expand community-based services, such as the network of Senior Care Centres, and introduce measures to raise care standards and provide more support to caregivers. At the same time, MOH will help to create an environment that sees ageing as an opportunity and encourages our seniors to remain physically, economically and socially active.
  • Create an integrated and patient-centric healthcare system, the Regional Health Systems, to keep Singaporeans healthy and deliver better patient care. 
  • Step up efforts to recruit and retain healthcare workers, and create more opportunities for their professional development and career progression.
  • Reform our healthcare financing framework to keep healthcare affordable for all Singaporeans. Implementation of MediShield Life in end-2015 will provide lifelong, universal coverage for all Singaporeans. Premiums will be kept affordable.

 

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