All A&E departments in S’pore public hospitals can handle life-threatening emergencies
Discussions with private hospitals about their emergency care capabilities are ongoing.
While all public hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments in Singapore are equipped to handle life-threatening emergencies, including trauma cases, the same is not true for private hospitals, said Senior Minister of State for Health and Law Edwin Tong in Parliament on Monday, Feb. 3.
This was in response to questions from Member of Parliament (MP) Joan Pereira and Workers’ Party (WP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Daniel Goh about increasing the capacities of both private and public hospitals in Singapore for handling larger-scale emergency cases.
Previously on Dec. 29, 2019, a tragic accident took place in Lucky Plaza, where two domestic helpers were killed and another four were injured after a car crashed through a railing and into them while they were picnicking on the sidewalk.
Why Tan Tock Seng Hospital rather than Mount Elizabeth Hospital?
However, some local netizens questioned why the women had been sent by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), rather than the nearby Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
Mount Elizabeth is located within the Orchard area, walking distance from Lucky Plaza, while TTSH is approximately 3.1km away from the accident site.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) and SCDF said in a joint statement on Dec. 31, 2019 that while Mount Elizabeth was located near the accident, it was not equipped to provide “timely management” for severe trauma patients.
Public hospital capabilities
Tong said that the A&E departments of the eight public hospitals across Singapore provide adequate coverage to provide emergency services for Singapore.
These eight hospitals are:
- Changi General Hospital
- KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
- Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
- National University Hospital
- Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
- Sengkang General Hospital
- Singapore General Hospital
- Tan Tock Seng Hospital
“All public hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments are equipped and capable of providing resuscitation, stabilisation and initial treatment for all life threatening emergencies, including trauma cases, for adults and children”, said Tong, according to the Straits Times.
He added that all public hospitals must fulfil MOH’s standards for providing trauma care.
MOH working with private hospitals
While private hospitals are not currently configured to provide handle the full range of emergency and trauma services, Tong said that MOH has had ongoing discussions with private hospitals about their emergency care capabilities.
He added that MOH has been collaborating with Raffles Hospital over the past four years for managing non-life-threatening and urgent SCDF ambulance cases.
Tong also said that MOH manages the training pipelines for emergency medicine and surgical specialists to ensure that there are sufficient capabilities to meet national needs.
There are currently 180 emergency medicine specialists and 240 general surgeons in Singapore.
Top image via YouTube / govsingapore and Jane Zhang.