Regulating Homecare Services
Parliamentary Speech: Budget 2019 Debate
Committee of Supply 2019 debate, Day 5: Anthea Ong on regulation of private homecare and daycare…
In Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 6), NMP Anthea Ong called for better regulation of private homecare and daycare…
The additional funding from the Long Term Care Support Fund and Home Caregiving Grant is likely to boost the use of formal home and centre based services. There is a need therefore to improve the regulatory framework for homecare and daycare services. Lien Foundation reported that, as of 2018, only 2 out of 60 such private providers were receiving subsidies which came with mandatory minimum requirements by MOH.
Perhaps it’s time to consolidate existing healthcare legislations into a holistic framework that covers the whole care spectrum. A strong regulatory framework should have at least 3 components: legislation, care quality auditing, and feedback and disputes. Independent bodies and a rating system could be set up for these purposes.
What plans does MOH have to regulate private homecare and centre-based services? Given the absence of mandatory minimum service standards, what is being done to ensure the quality and effectiveness of these services?
The Senior Minister of State for Health (Dr Amy Khor Lean Suan):
1. MOH works closely with our community care providers and healthcare professionals to deliver quality care, ensuring good governance over our services, while allowing room for the sector to evolve. To Ms Anthea Ong’s query, in 2015, MOH developed developmental guideline and home and daycare provides to work towards quality care. Healthcare professionals providing these services, such as doctors, nurses and therapists, must also be licensed by their professional bodies.
2. Looking ahead, MOH will review the need for more formal regulation, including licensing under the proposed Healthcare Services Act (HCSA), as Mr Louis Ng has also asked in a Parliamentary Question (PQ). We will adopt a risk-based approach, and subject services with higher patient risks to higher levels of regulation. Hence, we will start with licensing home medical services, and review the need to licence other services as the sector evolves.
3. Second, we will strengthen integration by providing places and programmes to address the social and healthcare needs of seniors. Following the transfer of functions from MSF, as of end 2019, MOH oversees 128 Senior Activity Centres (SACs) providing wellness programmes to seniors living in studio apartments and rental flats; 126 Senior Care Centres (SCCs) providing daycare and community rehabilitation services, and five Active Ageing Hubs (AAHs) serving seniors across a spectrum of needs.
Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)
The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities.
She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion, environment — and volunteerism in Parliament.policy