Fees go up at some polyclinicsBy Sheralyn Tay, TODAY | Posted: 22 March 2007 1131 hrs
As hospital bills increase, some polyclinics have been raising their consultation fees as well. The hikes range between 30 cents and 80 cents.
So far, five polyclinics have revised their fees. They include four of the nine polyclinics under the National Healthcare Group (NHG) and SingHealth’s newest polyclinic at Sengkang.
At the NHG’s newly renovated Jurong Polyclinic, a consultation will now cost $8.80, up from $8, which some other polyclinics are still charging.
According to the NHG, rising healthcare costs due to inflation and increase in manpower costs, together with increased demands on the primary healthcare system, have led to the rise.
“It is a daily challenge for us to meet the demand with limited resources. It is inevitable therefore that we raise our fees gradually and after careful consideration, to ensure that we continue to provide good and affordable healthcare to Singaporeans,” said an NHG spokesperson.
Currently, SingHealth’s Sengkang Polyclinic is the only one of its nine polyclinics to increase fees.
According to SingHealth, the fees were revised since the beginning of March to reflect the polyclinic’s “enhanced” facilities for patients. These include a wider and more complete range of laboratories and X-ray capabilities as well as in-built infection control measures.
Consultation fees are now $8.70 for Singaporean adults, and $4.50 for children and senior citizens — up $0.70 and $0.50 respectively compared to all other SingHealth polyclinics.
SingHealth did not comment on the possibility of further fee increases, but indicated that they would review polyclinic fee charges over time.
Already, public sector hospitals such as the National University Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Alexandra Hospital have increased hospital fees and Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will follow suit from April. At SGH, subsidised in-patients in Class B2 wards will pay an extra $3 — or $53 a day — while Class C patients will pay $26 or $1 more.
It is the first time SGH has increased fees since 1993.
Fees of polyclinic going up. Haiz… How many fees increase have we seen since last year? Bus fare up, postage up, ERP up, tsk tsk. Sometimes I don’t really get it. We as consumers are the money payers. So shouldn’t we pay more when we see better services or better products? This whole thing is being reversed right now. I don’t see the unreasonably long waiting time in polyclinics improving. Instead of getting consultation and some medicine and then going home to rest to recover from whatever sickness, patients often spend half a day waiting time. And now we’re suppose to pay higher consultation fees so that their services can improve? Shouldn’t I pay more *after* they have proven to me that their services really can improve? Elusive logic they have.