Just 6 days ago, Minister Gan Kim Yong who co-chairs the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce said, “Overall, our healthcare system remains stable and has been able to cope with infections.”
The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Feb 22) urged members of the public and employers not to further strain the healthcare system as Singapore`s daily Covid-19 cases reached a new high of over 25,000 cases for the day.
In a news release, it noted that hospitals, polyclinics and general practitioner clinics are “very busy” and healthcare workers are “under severe pressure” as it may take some weeks before the Omicron transmission wave peaks and subsides.
Secondly, many patients going to hospitals, polyclinics and general practitioner (GP) clinics have no or mild symptoms but would like to get an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) conducted by a medical professional and documented in MOH`s records, or to request for a medical certificate. “Our healthcare service providers will need help and cooperation from employers and members of the public.”
MOH said it is doing whatever it can to support healthcare providers and called on employers not to insist their employees produce a medical certificate or recovery memos once they have tested positive for the Covid-19 disease.
It added that in response to the spike in Covid-19 cases here, those who require medical attention are encouraged to consult a primary care doctor first. To help spread out peak patient load at private clinics, MOH said that it will extend the operating hours of Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) with effect from Friday to March 10.
The appeal by MOH to members of the public came on the heels of a viral Instagram post from the handle thehonesthealthcareworker. The person who owns the handle describes themselves as “An honest healthcare worker trying to make an honest living
Hard truths to keep the Singapore Healthcare worker going”.
In their post, the Instagramer referred to Minister Gan Kim Yong’s claim 6 days ago that the healthcare system was coping well, urging Singaporeans not to worry. Gan co-chairs the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce.
“We are now in the middle of this Omicron wave and are still climbing the epidemic curve. So far, most of the cases continue to be mild, especially for those who are fully vaccinated.”
He said in the virtual press conference on 16 February that authorities expect daily case numbers of between 15,000 and 20,000 or even higher. Gan added that based on the experience of other countries, the number of cases is expected to peak in a few weeks’ time before it starts to decline.
“Overall, our healthcare system remains stable and has been able to cope with infections,” he assured Singaporeans.
The Instagramer said that the healthcare system was, in fact, not coping well and is “on a slow road to collapse”. She pointed out how the nurses to patient ratio has dramatically increased and claimed that “more doctors have quit residency” and “those that are leftover are juniors who lack experience.”