Ms He Ting Ru asked the Minister for Health regarding the capacity of restructured hospitals in the last three months (a) for how many days did the emergency departments of each restructured hospital have to close or divert patients away due to its capacity being reached; (b) which hospitals or departments have been particularly badly hit; and (c) how many days have the respective emergency departments of these hospitals seen waiting times of over (i) two hours (ii) four hours and (iii) six hours, before patients could be triaged.
Mr Ong Ye Kung: In the last three months, Singapore went through a severe pandemic crisis. It is a global crisis that affects all countries and regions. Fortunately, our population is highly vaccinated. Hence COVID-19 infections have not translated to many cases with severe illness and our ICU wards did not come under pressure.
It has been the hospital Emergency Departments (ED) that is most busy. During that time, MOH had approved the diversion of SCDF ambulances on seven different occasions from three hospitals (CGH, KTPH and SKH). We are able to do so because the conditions of the patients were non-critical. This helped hospitals manage their capacity at the EDs, so that patients with critical conditions can be attended to quickly. The duration of diversions varied, ranging from two hours to six hours.
All patients presenting at EDs are triaged at registration, usually within half an hour, to determine the level of priority for emergency treatment. Their waiting times for clinical consult varies depending on the clinical condition of the patient. Critically ill patients are seen almost immediately.
Ministry of Health
5 April 2022