Government should clarify issue on non-existent polyclinic consultation grants

Every possible cost which PAP is able to arbitrarily increase, it has done so. Unknown to most citizens, our polyclinic bill continues to be inflated annually.

We have wrongly assumed that this won’t impact us because the out of pocket increase is minimal. For example, higher healthcare costs eventually trickle down to higher medical insurance premiums. And PAP has not only self-inflated polyclinic costs but public healthcare costs across the board, including hospitals of course.

In the case of polyclinic consultation fee (PCF), PAP has inflated the amount to $44.20 – more than double charged by a neighbourhood private GP.

If a private GP charges about $20 for a short consultation, inflating PCF to $44.20 must surely be a scam of sorts. This has been ongoing for years without a word from any MP.

Healthcare inflation in Singapore is solely created by PAP. At the 6 to 7% annual rate of increase, PCF will hit $100 in less than 15 years. Increasing grants to help patients?

In 2015 March, PCF was $38.97.

A year later, this was increased to $41.68.

While PAP was increasing town council S & CC, water prices, etc, PCF was quietly increased to $44.20.

In 2 years, PCF has increased by a whopping 13.4%.

But do polyclinic patients benefit from $44.20 worth of consultation? The answer is clearly ‘no’. How could this be possible when even very experienced private GPs charge only half the amount?

Since there is no land cost and public sector costs are lower due to economies of scale, shouldn’t the “full amount” be about $10 or half what a private GP charges?

Should the “full amount” be $10, the grant amount works out to only 31%. But with PAP’s self-inflated $44.2 PCF, the government can trumpet its ‘generosity’ to the world, ie children/elderly citizens have been given consultation grants of 84%.

Since an adult citizen pays $12.50 for consultation, almost double the rate for children/elderly citizens, does this mean that the patient is in fact subsidising the public healthcare system?

To the PAP government, a higher “full amount” equates to more benefits for patients. And so our highest-paid civil servants will continue to increase the PCF to help us with more ‘grants’. For example, from a difference (grant) of $32.87 ($38.97 – $6.1) in 2015, it increased to $37.30 ($44.2 – $$6.9) in 2017.

There are relevant questions which must be asked:
– Since polyclinic patients do not benefit from the self-inflated grant, where does this money go?
– Do CEOs of SingHealth or NHG polyclinics benefit from, say, increased bonuses, if operations are more profitable, ie as a result of receiving more tax dollars?
– Why are their salaries not disclosed despite being fully-funded by taxpayers?

The amount involved is not loose change. In 2015, attendance at polyclinics was 4.874 million. Assuming PCF grants amounted to about $30 per patient, some $146 million disappeared into god-knows-where.

With the increasing population and ‘grant’ amount per patient, running public healthcare institutions will be increasingly profitable as they will be topped up with millions in tax dollars at PAP’s whim.

The government must provide a breakdown, especially on how it arrived at a $44.2 PCF when the private sector charges about 50%.

The polyclinic bill clearly states “consultation” which implies the amount is paid to polyclinic doctors. Since this is most unlikely, again, it looks like a scam of sorts to me. 😦

PAP should clarify this issue once and for all.

PS

Just heard a motorcyclist involved in an accident on 17 April had to wait more than 24 hours at the A & E before being warded. Is the hospital bed crunch at Changi General Hospital still so severe? In a major catastrophe, how will our hospitals be able to cope?

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One Response to Government should clarify issue on non-existent polyclinic consultation grants

  1. Sinkie says:

    Ever since the corporatization of public healthcare in the mid-1990s, the original aim of affordable healthcare for less well-off has been thrown by the wayside. CEOs of healthcare groups like SingHealth, NHG, NUH, JurongHealth, Eastern Alliance, etc etc are now rewarded & expected to increase revenue & cover their costs. Many senior doctors & management benefited as their salaries & bonuses were pegged to private sector. While lower level staff especially nurses (and even junior doctors) had increased workloads with suppressed pay & floodgate policy for foreign staffing. The KPIs for most if not all govt sectors is now cost recovery & revenue generation. Therefore what you often see now is plenty of wastage & even extravagance by govt as they know they can always pass the extra costs to Sinkies. Even worse, govt bodies now charge extra for “projected future costs” i.e. even BEFORE govt need the money, they take from Sinkies first. Famous example is the increased water tariffs, which LHL has finally got the balls to admit it is for future increased costs. This is akin to private sector practice — any other govt in the world practicing in such manner would be booted out long ago.

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