Friday, April 4, 2014

Letter to Media Corp’s TODAY newspaper: Diverse views needed to help fine-tune policies

My letter to TODAY on the above matter was published on Friday 4th April 2014

I was encouraged by the report, “Civil Service needs to involve public more to retain trust: Tharman” (March 27). I hope the Civil Service can obtain more diverse views to craft the right policies.

One of the issues Singaporeans are concerned about is the cost of living, especially that of housing, transport and healthcare. For example, during a recent post-Budget forum on healthcare chaired by the Health Minister and Senior Minister of State (Health), participants expressed their worries about rising costs.

To understand the concerns of citizens fully, it is vital for civil servants to obtain feedback from all sectors of the population. Diverse, constructive feedback helps fine-tune policies and will benefit the public.

To this end, civil servants and policy-makers can reach out to newspaper letter writers and social activists before policies are crafted.

In healthcare, the views of health-care providers, social workers and voluntary welfare organisations are often obtained at forums. However, these workers are not living with those in dire need of support and may not understand fully the travails of this group.

Patients and caregivers are the right people to obtain feedback from because they are walking the journey. The Government needs to understand the difficulties caregivers face, for example. The feedback portal REACH should also seek candid views from those struggling in life.





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