High number of patients in hospital emergency departments, most did not need urgent care: Ministry of Health

SINGAPORE – Only people with serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, shortness of breath and uncontrollable bleeding, should go to a hospital’s emergency department, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Sunday February 6.

This allows people with a serious illness requiring emergency care to be taken care of quickly.

It also helps preserve hospital capacity for those who really need acute hospital care, he added.

The ministry said in a statement that hospitals in Singapore were seeing a large number of patients in their emergency departments, leading to long queues and waiting times.

“Most of these patients did not require emergency care, and such unnecessary emergency department visits risk compromising the quality of care for other patients who do need emergency medical care.” , added the Ministry of Health.

Children’s emergency departments at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital have also seen very high attendance in the past two weeks, the ministry said.

On average, there were more than 650 cases per day in the two departments last week, compared to an average of 450 cases per day in early January.

The Department of Health said around 80% of patients – including those infected with Covid-19 – had mild symptoms, did not need hospitalization and were discharged after their hospital visit.

“Of the pediatric patients who were admitted, most did not stay long in the hospital and were discharged on average within two to three days,” the ministry said.

“The proportion of serious Covid-19 infections and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children remains low, at less than one in 1,000 pediatric cases.”

The Ministry of Health is urging the public, including children, to consult GPs or a 24-hour clinic for non-emergency cases.

They can also go to Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) if they need a Covid-19 test or an examination for symptoms of an acute respiratory infection. More than 700 PHPCs are open after hours on some days.

The Ministry of Health also said that there are six collection centers that support pediatric collections for children aged six and under. They include Raffles Children’s Center at Tampines 1 Mall, Thomson Pediatric Center at Jem in Jurong East and Raffles Juniors at Waterway Point in Punggol.

The public can access the latest list of GP clinics and their opening hours at:

Institutional website of the Ministry of Health

The Agency for Integrated Care website

Community Health Assistance Program webpage

• The HealthHub mobile app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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