Are hospitals in Hong Kong and Taiwan better prepared to deal with beds crunch?

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By: Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “500-bed rehab hub next to TTSH to open in five years” (Straits Times, Mar 22).

New 500-bed rehab hub in 5 years’ time

It states that “Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s (TTSH) new 500-bed rehabilitation complex, right next to the main hospital in Novena, opens in five years and will add to the growing number of healthcare facilities that cater to the needs of an ageing population.”

S’pore’s hospital beds increased 13% from 2001 to 2015?

The number of total hospital beds in Singapore was 11,936 in 2001 and only increased by about 13 per cent to 13,490 (13,490 divided by 11,936 beds) from 2001 to 2015.

Population increased 35% by 1.44m?

Against this, the population has increased by 35.1 per cent from 4.1 million in 2001 to 5.54 million in June 2015.

Hong Kong’s ratio of hospital beds double S’pore’s?

There were a total of 31,819 hospital beds in Hong Kong (Number of Hospital Beds in Hospitals in Hospital Authority 27,805 + Number of Hospital Beds in Private Hospitals 4,014) for end 2015.

This works out to a hospital beds to population ratio of 44 hospital beds per 10,000 population (31,819 beds divided by 7,305,700 population).

In contrast, Singapore’s 13,490 hospital beds in 2015, according to the Department of Statistics’ Yearbook of Statistics 2016 – works out to a ratio of only 24 beds per 10,000 population (13,490 divided by 5,540,000).

So, does it mean that Hong Kong’s ratio is almost double (44 divided by 24 = 83 per cent more) Singapore’s?

Taiwan’s ratio of hospital beds triple S’pore’s?

For Taiwan, the ratio was 66 (2013).

So, does it mean that Taiwan’s ratio was almost triple (66 divided by 24 = 175 per cent more) Singapore’s?