Introduction: Understanding public perceptions of healthcare delivery is important to guide policy formulation and practice as well as to identify areas where public health communication needs to be strengthened to overcome misconceptions and allay unfounded concerns. We conducted a survey of Singapore residents to determine perceptions of the affordability and quality of healthcare in Singapore.Materials and Methods: A sampling frame was drawn from the 2005/2006 edition of the telephone directory. One thousand seven hundred and eighty-three respondents were interviewed via telephone and asked to rank their agreement with statements pertaining to healthcare cost and quality on a 5-point Likert scale. Results: Respondents were representative of the general population in ethnicity and housing type but lower income households were over-represented. 79.6% of respondents agreed that Singapore had a good healthcare system and 57.5% agreed that the government provided good and affordable healthcare to Singaporeans. The majority agreed that healthcare was generally affordable, especially at polyclinics (78%) and restructured hospitals (50%) and that the quality of healthcare in Singapore was high. Comparing primary and tertiary care, there was uniformity in the perception of quality at both levels but respondents assessed tertiary healthcare to be less affordable (P <0.0001). Conclusion: Singaporeans are confident in the healthcare system. The quality of Singapore healthcare is generally regarded to be high although there are growing concerns regarding the affordability of healthcare.
Healthcare is increasingly dominating the policy agenda in developed countries. In the United States, healthcare has been ranked only behind the war in Iraq as the issue the American public would “most like the president and Congress to act on next year”, while 19% of Canadians deemed healthcare the “most important issue facing Canada”.
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