THE Government's outlay since the battle against SARS began comes close to S$300mil (RM647mil) – and Health Minister Lim Hng Kiang says it is by no means the final tally.
“The financial impact of SARS will not be one-off,” he said in a written reply in Parliament on Monday.
“The changes that we are instituting in our hospitals are here to stay, to ensure that we have in place proper infection control processes and procedures to deal with future outbreaks, be it SARS, or any other disease.''
While the Health Ministry, along with the two healthcare clusters, were working out the financial impact of SARS, he said hospital operating costs “will need to be adjusted”.
This was necessary to take into account “changes in requirements for personal protective equipment and patient management and work processes” to prevent any other infectious diseases from spreading.
“We are conscious of the potential impact of these changes on patients' fees and will try to moderate the impact, especially on lower income patients.” – The Straits Times/ Asia News Network
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