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Singapore

New primary care plan introduced to keep healthcare services affordable for migrant workers

SINGAPORE: A new primary care plan has been introduced to ensure that healthcare services for migrant workers are kept affordable, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Monday (Nov 29).

Medical consultations and treatments, medical examinations for work pass purposes, and telemedicine services will be covered under the plan, which is part of a new primary healthcare system for workers, the ministry said in a press release. 

Prices of primary care plans range from S$108 to S$145 per worker annually and can be paid by employers in regular instalments, such as monthly payments.

This gives employers a “greater peace of mind” when migrant workers seek medical care, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng said at a signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding for Project MigrantWell on Monday.

GEOGRAPHICAL SECTORS

Under the new primary healthcare system, Singapore will be organised into six geographical sectors, each run by an "anchor operator".

Three medical service providers - Fullerton Healthcare Group, SATA CommHealth and StarMed Specialist Centre - have been appointed anchor operators for five of the sectors.

Non-governmental organisation St Andrew's Mission Hospital is the anchor operator for the remaining sector.

"The mix of operators will enable MOM to assess the benefits and strengths that different commercial and NGO operators bring," said MOM.

HEALTHCARE SERVICES UNDER PRIMARY CARE PLAN

Services Components
Medical examination for work pass application or renewal Medical consultation, physical and clinical examination, including chest x-ray, blood tests and investigations (where applicable)
Medical consultations and treatment
  • No cap to the number of acute/chronic consultations at MCMW, OMC, TM or via MCT (including public health activation)
  • Standard medications and treatments, in accordance with MOH’s List of Subsidised Drugs
  • Basic laboratory tests (including logistics)
  • X-ray
  • Simple procedures, including basic removal of foreign body, wound dressing, toilet and suturing, removal of sutures and therapeutic injections
  • Mental health counselling, as required
Scheduled transportation
  • As required, to and from the medical centre within the sector, excluding routine specialist appointments
  • Ambulance and special transport services to other medical facilities
Medication delivery
  • For tele-consultations between 8am and 5.59pm, same day medication delivery
  • For tele-consultations between 6pm and 7.59am, medication delivery by 12pm on the following day
Annual basic health screening
  • Physical examination, including mental health assessment
  • Blood pressure, body mass index, height, weight
  • Chronic illness such as diabetes and high blood cholesterol (as recommended by doctor)

All four anchor operators have experience in caring for migrant workers, the ministry said, adding that the operators will provide primary healthcare services at medical centres complemented with round-the-clock telemedicine services.

"They will also ensure rapid response to public health concerns in dormitories via mobile clinical teams. To minimise language and cultural barriers, they will put in place IT-enabled multilingual translation capabilities and augment the clinical team with healthcare workers who can speak the native languages of our migrant workers," added MOM.

Designated general practitioner clinics will also form part of the "larger healthcare ecosystem", comprising other partners such as public healthcare institutions and private hospitals.

Migrant workers will be automatically enrolled with the anchor operator in the geographical sector of their residence.

They will pay the operators a medical treatment fee of S$5 for each visit to the medical centre and S$2 for each telemedicine session. This is to "encourage prudent use of medical resources and instil personal ownership of their own health", MOM said.

"Through such partnerships, we can benefit from best practices among a diverse mix of commercial and anchor operators from non-governmental organisations.

“Over time, we can draw lessons to build a more resilient primary healthcare ecosystem for migrant workers,” Dr Tan added. 

(Image: Ministry of Manpower)

APPOINTED ANCHOR OPERATORS

Sector Appointed anchor operator Location of medical centre for migrant workers Selected on-site medical centres within dormitories
A StarMed Specialist Centre StarMed Specialist Centre @ Farrer Park Not Applicable
B SATACommHealth 63 Loyang Way Not Applicable
C SATACommHealth Woodlands Recreation Centre PPT Lodge 1B
D SATACommHealth Kranji Recreation Centre Sungei Tengah Lodge
E Fullerton Healthcare Group 47 Gul Circle Tuas View Dormitory & CDPL Tuas Dormitory
F St Andrew’s Mission Hospital Penjuru Recreation Centre Not Applicable
Source: CNA/ng(mi)

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