Ms Tan Ching Yee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health in Singapore, gave us a wonderful presentation on the healthcare system in Singapore. Coming from the UK where we have the NHS it was very interesting to see how the healthcare system in Singapore compares to our own. The major difference was the concept of Medisave in Singapore and the fact that nurses and doctors working in the public healthcare service in Singapore are not paid substantially less than their counterparts working in the private sector. We then paid a visit to the Economic Development Board which is situated at the top of the Raffles City Tower. I was very interested to learn about Singapore’s economic activities and particularly its advancement towards becoming a Knowledge Economy with a 300 person analytical center currently being set up. Singapore’s Real GDP growth figure for 2012 was 1.3% and the forecast for 2013 is between 1-3%. The EDB is responsible for 40% of Singapore’s Real GDP and therefore Singapore’s Real GDP figures are a testament to the hard work done by the EDB. After a subsequent visit to the GIC where we learnt about Singapore’s investments on a global scale in companies such as Skype, we enjoyed a river cruise – the highlight for me was the view of the Marina Bay Sands. We rounded off Day 3 with a very entertaining Cultural Performance rehearsal but more on that later 😉
Day 4 began with a presentation at the Land Transport Authority as well as a tour of their museum. Having previously had the opportunity to experience Singapore’s underground network first hand, I was able to compare it with the London Underground and I noticed that the percentage of people in Singapore using the MTR was greater than the percentage of Londoners using the Tube. The presentation provided me with an answer to this conundrum; the LTA has incentives based schemes in place to ‘nudge’ people towards using their public transport system. This is certainly something that I believe would prove a useful addition for the London Underground. The Public Utilities Board taught us about how water is recycled quickly and efficiently in Singapore in order to meet demand. One of PUB’s main products is New Water which makes up one third of the water consumed in Singapore however this figure is expected to rise to a half in the future.