SINGAPORE: The public can look forward to getting more guidance when trying to make informed and appropriate medical decisions.
The Agency for Care Effectiveness (ACE) will expand its range of education, advisory products, and programmes beyond Drug Guidances and Appropriate Care Guides, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in his ministry’s Addendum to the President’s Address on Friday (May 11).
The ACE, established in 2015, gives healthcare guidance to improve patient outcomes and healthcare value.
The expansion serves to support healthcare professionals, patients and the public in “making more informed and appropriate decisions”, Mr Gan said. “Beyond ensuring good quality care, we will strive towards helping Singaporeans make better choices.”
This comes as President Halimah Yacob, in her Parliament address on Monday, said the Government will prioritise the forging of a cohesive, caring and inclusive society for the remainder of its term.
To that end, Mr Gan said the Ministry of Health (MOH) is expanding healthcare capacity by building more hospitals, polyclinics and primary care networks comprising general practitioners.
Beyond increasing capacity, Mr Gan said MOH will transform care models by experimenting with “innovative and potentially game-changing concepts” and bringing care beyond the hospital to the community.
The community will also have a part to play in caring for the elderly, as MOH expands community-based care facilities and experiments with new forms of housing for more accessible care.
“We will develop social nodes in the community to bring active ageing, preventive health, functional health screening, and other programmes to the doorsteps of seniors,” Mr Gan said.
And to complement this, Mr Gan said MOH will continue to build up capabilities for nurse-led, community-based care. “We will create good job opportunities for Singaporeans in the growing healthcare sector, and enable our healthcare workforce to stay relevant through skills upgrading.”
BETTER KINSHIP CARE ARRANGEMENTS
Besides the elderly, another vulnerable group will also get more help. Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee said in his ministry’s addendum that it will continue to improve support for children who experience abuse and neglect.
“This includes intervention to support families to make the home environment safer for children, and expanding foster care so that children who cannot be with their biological families can still grow up in a family environment,” he said.
To that end, Mr Lee said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will explore how to further enhance kinship care arrangements, where children are cared for by relatives. This ensures the children remain more closely connected with their families.
“We plan to strengthen case management support and training for kin carers to better care for the children, and are working on the details,” an MSF spokesperson said.
MSF will also strive to give children a good start in life by ensuring families can benefit from accessible, affordable and quality early childhood services, Mr Lee said. This includes expanding full day pre-school places to provide a place for every child who needs one.
Children from low-income families will benefit from a “strong ecosystem” of support through the KidSTART pilot, Mr Lee added. “We will partner parents to enable their children to develop holistically in the familiar settings of their home and pre-school.”
Moving on to families, Mr Lee said MSF will provide marriage preparation programmes and support parents in caring for and bonding with their children. The ministry will also work towards reducing the negative impact on children arising from a divorce.
In the bigger picture, Mr Lee said MSF will create a caring and inclusive society by supporting Singaporeans of all abilities, strengthening the social service sector and nurturing a spirit of giving and caring.
“Creating a more cohesive society is a continuous endeavour over the long-term,” he added.
STRONG IDENTITY AND MUTUAL TRUST
A cohesive nation is also enabled by “active citizenry”, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu said in her ministry’s addendum. “Singaporeans must have a strong sense of shared identity, trust and engage each other, and exercise their civic responsibilities for the common good.”
To create a strong national identity, Ms Fu said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) will safeguard national heritage, build a vibrant and distinctive arts scene, and rally the nation through sporting achievement.
Another ingredient for cohesion is mutual trust among people, Ms Fu said, adding that MCCY will grow common spaces to foster social mixing and inclusion and enable youth to engage one another and the Government.
As for being a caring nation that looks out for each other, Ms Fu said MCCY will inspire a culture of volunteerism and giving, and promote a social movement towards healthy living.
“A strong society is one that is caring, inclusive, and has a shared sense of past and future,” she added.