Singapore, 20 October 2003 - The Economic Development Board (EDB), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and International Enterprise Singapore (IE) announced the launch of SingaporeMedicine, a multi-agency government initiative aimed at developing Singapore into one of Asia's leading destinations for healthcare services. Asia's population is expected to grow from 3.2 billion in 2002 to 5.6 billion in 2050 and with the increase in life expectancy and growing economic affluence, there will be a strong demand for quality healthcare in this region. Singapore, with its well-established reputation for clinical and medical excellence, is poised to tap on this growing demand to entrench itself as a premier regional healthcare hub.
This is in line with the recommendations of the Healthcare Services Working Group (HSWG) of the Economic Review Committee, a high-level working group comprising key public and private sector industry representatives. Their findings indicated that since the 1980's, Singapore's healthcare providers have been seeing an increasing number of international patients. Last year, this number exceeded 200,000. HSWG had suggested that Singapore aims to attract 1 million international patients per year by 2012.
The Guest of Honour, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Acting Minister for Health and Senior Minister of State for Finance (MOF) reiterated the Ministry of Health's (MOH's) support for the SingaporeMedicine initiative. Making Singapore a regional medical hub is one of MOH's priorities. MOH has taken steps to raise the standard and quality of Singapore's medical and healthcare services including managing healthcare costs by promoting transparency in hospital bill sizes for common conditions. MOH's support underlines a concerted commitment from various sectors of the Government to develop Singapore into Asia's premier healthcare services hub.
The multi-agency efforts behind the SingaporeMedicine branding will see EDB, STB and IE Singapore playing critical roles to establish Singapore as the region's leading healthcare hub. EDB's role in SingaporeMedicine would be promoting new investments and developing new capabilities in our healthcare industry. STB will spearhead the marketing aspects, look into strengthening service delivery for foreign patients and develop overseas referral channels. IE Singapore's role is to promote the growth and expansion of Singapore's healthcare players into the region.
SingaporeMedicine is overseen by a steering committee under the leadership of Mr Philip Yeo, Co-Chairman EDB and Chairman A*STAR. The steering committee comprises representatives from various agencies and ministries including Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, STB; Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Chief Executive, IE Singapore; and Dr Tan Chorh Chuan, Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health (MOH).
Mr Philip Yeo highlighted, "Singapore has the advantage of a well-established healthcare system with an excellent reputation for quality medicine. Our current Biomedical Sciences initiative will expand our research capabilities and further strengthen the ability of our doctors to deliver state-of-the-art medical care." In addition, Singapore has the solid fundamentals of a regional healthcare hub with its reputation for clinical excellence, highly-trained medical workforce, a well-regulated health environment, the availability of the latest medical technology and good medical infrastructure.
Singapore provides the complete spectrum of healthcare services from primary care such as health screening, to quaternary care services such as organ transplants. Foreign patients also come to Singapore for a broad range of specialist care including Cardiology, Gynaecology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Oncology, Otorhinolaryngology, Urology, Neurosurgery and Opthalmology, besides General Surgery and General Medicine.
Positioned as more than a centre for the treatment of illnesses, Singapore is also a destination where visitors can select from a wide range of services to enhance their health and well being. These include health screening, medical wellness, aesthetic and anti-ageing programmes.
Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, STB said, "Singapore has much to offer to our foreign patients. STB will leverage on the excellent healthcare services that are currently available to Singaporeans and create stronger awareness of these services overseas. STB will take a further step to bring healthcare providers and travel agents together to develop suitable healthcare cum travel packages. Packaging the hospitality element will make it more convenient for those who want to travel to Singapore for healthcare."
In conjunction with the launch, STB has invited a group of travel trade professionals from China to try out a new health screening cum leisure package that will soon be launched in China. This package couples health screening with leisure components such as visits to tourism attractions, spa and a golf game.
Said Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Chief Executive Officer of IE Singapore, which assists Singapore-based companies to grow and internationalise, "Singapore healthcare service providers enjoy good reputation overseas. They could expand their market reach by having physical presence in key cities of international markets. IE Singapore is keen to partner them in their international growth plans." These overseas centres would form part of the respective providers' referral network to channel patients to Singapore.
SingaporeMedicine's agencies, together with MOH, will continue to work towards clinical excellence and quality healthcare delivery to provide world-class healthcare services for international patients.
For more information, please contact:
Ms Tracie Yeo
Manager, Media Relations
Singapore Tourism Board
Tel: (65) 6831 3772
Fax: (65) 6734 7226
Or call the Press Phone at 9 863 1503.
Head, Marketing Communications
Economic Development Board
Tel: (65) 6832 6663
Fax: (65) 6336 5763
Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications Division
International Enterprise Singapore
Tel: (65) 6433 4706
Fax: (65) 63378136