Hospitals to defer non-urgent surgeries to conserve healthcare resources
The Ministry of Health has asked all hospitals to defer non-urgent operations and admissions to help conserve their resources.
With Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) trying to contain a COVID-19 cluster that emerged last week, it has “progressively ceased” admissions of new inpatient cases until further notice.
Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance cases will also be diverted to other public and private hospitals.
In order to conserve healthcare resources, public and private hospitals taking on extra loads have been asked by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to defer all non-urgent surgeries and admissions, as well as non-urgent specialist outpatient clinic appointments.
The hospitals will contact the affected patients regarding these deferments.
“MOH is working closely with all public and private hospitals to ensure that patients requiring care will continue to be attended to. The healthcare community has also worked together to reserve more beds to manage any potential increase in COVID-19 cases,” said MOH.
Until the current situation stabilises, MOH is encouraging hospitals to work with patients in arranging teleconsultations and alternative care arrangements.
On May 4, TTSH announced that they are ceasing admissions to their hospitals to conserve manpower.
TTSH wrote: “We will continue to review our measures with the Ministry and take all necessary actions for the safety of our patients, and staff.”
For stable patients who require specialist outpatient clinic services, TTSH will defer their appointments and initiate teleconsultation and medication delivery. Patients who require in-person care will be attended to by staff members who are not linked to the TTSH cluster.
Other hospitals around Singapore have updated their visitor policies, stating that those who visited TTSH after Apr 18 will not be allowed into the premises.
However, the public are advised to seek consultation for non-emergency situations with general practitioners or polyclinic doctors first. Patients with respiratory symptoms should visit Public Health Preparedness Clinic.
These measures allow TTSH and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases to focus on providing appropriate care for existing patients.
MOH urged the public to visit hospitals’ emergency departments only for emergency and life-threatening conditions such as persistent chest pains, breathlessness, sudden weakness and numbness, serious injuries and multiple trauma.
With the measures put in place, the public should expect longer wait times at the emergency departments.
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MOH seeks the understanding and cooperation of people to support these new measures. The public should also comply with safe distancing measures while the healthcare system copes with the ongoing situation.
MOH wrote: “MOH thanks all public and private healthcare institutions for their contribution to contain the outbreak and seek the understanding and cooperation of all Singaporeans to support these measures and comply with safe distancing measures, while the healthcare system makes adjustments to cope with the ongoing situation.