Singapore Healthcare Stocks Flash Note - Public Hospital Bed Crunch Spillover To Private Hospital
- Over-crowded public hospitals could spillover to private hospital. Raffles Medical (SGX:BSL) is a key beneficiary under The Emergency Care Collaboration while IHH Healthcare (SGX:Q0F) may benefit from patients seeking private healthcare to avoid long waiting time.
- Hospital bed crunch led to up to 50 hours of waiting time for admission, possibly due to rise in COVID-19 cases recently, flu season and increased number of acute patients.
- Straits Times just reported that there is a bed crunch in public hospitals in Singapore that has spilled over to the emergency departments. Emergency department doctors say that there are days when the ambulance are unable to discharge due to lack of space. See article.
- CNA has also reported that the waiting time for admission has surged up to 50 hours has surged up to 50 hours. The news cited that the potential reason for the overload at hospitals could be due to the spike in COVID-19 cases recently, ongoing flu season and a higher number of patients with severe conditions. See article.
- We have seen the rise of COVID-19 cases recently, mainly due to the new Omicron XBB subvariant. The number of new COVID cases shot up to 11,533 on 18 Oct, more than double that of the day before at 5,028 cases. The 7-day moving average of local cases as of 19 Oct was 8,114. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a press conference last Saturday that the wave is expected to peak at about 15k daily cases by mid-November, according to The Straits Times. See article.
- MOH stepping up measures to ensure public hospital situation is under control. The public hospitals will set aside more than 800 beds by early November. MOH has already activated measures including deferring non-urgent admissions, discharging stable patients home or to nursing homes, and transferring recovering patients to transitional care facilities and community hospitals.
Our thoughts on SG Healthcare stocks
- While the current wave is still not a cause for concern yet, the over-crowded public hospital could potentially spillover to the private hospitals.
- As we have seen in the past few waves, Raffles Medical as the partner of MOH on The Emergency Care Collaboration could be one of the bigger beneficiary of these spillover of emergency cases from the public hospitals.
- The other private hospitals such as IHH Healthcare could also benefit with potentially some patients seeking private medical treatment to avoid long waiting hours. We understand (from our on the ground research) that the private hospitals are starting to set aside beds for COVID-19 patients and are seeing capacity fast filling up with non-urgent treatment are being deferred.
- We believe that the government has had sufficient experience during the past few waves to manage the situation well once again and are well prepared in anticipation for the peak of this wave.
- We have a BUY rating on both Raffles Medical (SGX:BSL) and IHH Healthcare (SGX:Q0F) with target price of S$1.63 and RM7.90.
Above is the excerpt from report by DBS Group Research.
Clients of DBS may access the full report in PDF @ https://www.dbs.com/insightsdirect/.
Rachel Lih Rui TAN DBS Group Research | https://www.dbs.com/insightsdirect/ 2022-10-21 2022-10-21
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