Opening Address at Signing Ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding for Project MigrantWell
Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng, Singapore Business Federation Centre
Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Ms Mavis Khoo, Representative of the estate of Khoo Teck Puat
Mr Edward Ng, Representative of the estate of Ng Teng Fong
Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman of the Singapore Business Federation Foundation
Dr Arthur Chern, Group Chief Executive Officer of St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening! It is my pleasure to join you at the Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony for Project MigrantWell.
2 Migrant workers have contributed immensely to the growth of Singapore, and are an integral part of Singapore’s workforce. They contribute to industries like the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors and help build our homes, common spaces and economy. Over the years, we have been making a concerted effort to protect their health and safety in a sustainable manner.
3 On this note, I am delighted that the estate of Khoo Teck Puat and the estate of Ng Teng Fong, the Singapore Busines Federation Foundation and St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital have come together for Project MigrantWell. Besides setting up a medical centre at Penjuru Recreational Centre to deliver primary care for migrant workers, I am also heartened to hear that they will be setting up a MigrantWell Welfare Fund to strengthen healthcare support for migrant workers. This philanthropy-led public-private-people partnership epitomises a whole-of-society effort in uplifting the well-being of migrant workers. This effort also complements the Government’s role in shaping a new primary healthcare system for migrant workers.
New Primary Healthcare System for Migrant Workers
4 Protecting the health and safety of our migrant workers has always been our priority. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has stepped up efforts to enhance medical support for our migrant workers. This includes setting up eight regional medical centres and five on-site medical centres within large dormitories. Telemedicine consultations are available 24/7, and mobile clinical teams are deployed to address public health threats. In addition, our migrant workers can visit Designated General Practitioner (GP) clinics located island-wide for more accessible care options.
5 This year, we have drawn from our experience of the past year and taken concrete steps to set up an integrated primary healthcare system for our migrant workers for the long-term. These steps are anchored on our commitment to CARE for our migrant workers. Let me explain.
Ensuring good primary care for migrant workers
6 First, “C” refers to ensuring good primary care for migrant workers. Singapore will be organised into six geographical sectors. An Anchor Operator for each geographical sector will ensure that migrant workers have access to primary care services. Besides primary care medical centres, 24/7 telemedicine services and mobile clinical teams will also be made available. Each sector is also complemented by a network of Designated GP clinics. Together, each Anchor Operator will be able to build stronger doctor-patient relationships and trust that address migrant workers' care needs.
7 I am pleased to announce that besides St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, MOM has appointed three other medical service providers - Fullerton Healthcare Group, SATA CommHealth and StarMed Specialist Centre - as Anchor Operators in five of the six geographical sectors.
Delivering Affordable Primary Healthcare
8 Second, “A” refers to delivering affordable primary healthcare. We are pioneering new ways to ensure that primary care remains affordable and sustainable in the longer-term for migrant workers and their employers.
9 We will introduce a new primary care plan or PCP to give employers a greater peace of mind when migrant workers seek medical care. Under the PCP, each migrant worker will be covered for a suite of primary healthcare services that are tailored to their needs. This includes medical examinations for work pass purposes, medical consultations and treatments, annual health screening, and telemedicine services.
10 Employers will enjoy cost savings too. They can pay for this PCP in regular instalments such as through monthly payments.
Reducing language and cultural barriers to care
11 Third, “R” refers to reducing language and cultural barriers to care. Our Anchor Operators will ensure that care is delivered in a way that minimises language and cultural barriers for our migrant workers. This will not only ensure culturally-attuned care is delivered, but nudge our migrant workers to seek help early and comply with treatment plans. Besides having IT-enabled multilingual translation capabilities, Anchor Operators will also have the opportunity to augment the clinical team with healthcare workers who can speak the native languages of our migrant workers.
Extending partnerships between the public, private and people sectors to build a resilient primary healthcare ecosystem for migrant workers
12 Finally, “E” refers to extending partnerships between the public, private and people sectors. Through such partnerships, we can benefit from best practices among a diverse mix of commercial and Anchor Operators from non-governmental organisations. Over time, we can draw lessons to build a more resilient primary healthcare ecosystem for migrant workers. Today’s MOU signing ceremony is a case in point and signifies a pivotal collaboration to enhance the ecosystem of support for migrant workers.
13 In closing, our migrant workers have contributed much to Singapore’s nation building. It is heartening to see the collective support from the community, including the business community, non-governmental organisations and philanthropists, in caring for our migrant workers. Together, we can build a more resilient healthcare ecosystem, and give a better peace of mind to migrant workers and their employers.
14 Thank you.