To Health Minister Gan Kim Yong
Dear Minister Gan
I refer to a recent polyclinic bill (below).
Bill of my 15 year old child who waited hours to see a doctor for 5 minutes.
With reference to the bill above, I hope the MOH can enlighten me on the following:
1 – The full cost of the consultation is stated as “$38.97”.
The consultation fee at Healthway private clinics ranges from $22 to $35 and would have been only $22 in my child’s case. The consultation fee at public clinics are expected to be much lower for obvious reasons eg. no rental cost, lower staff salaries, etc.
Why then does the MOH use “$38.97”, which is almost 100% above average private consultation fees?
2 – The full cost of Paracetamol is stated as “$6.29”.
However, the retail price of a box of 20’s at Guardian is only $2.50. Why does Paracetamol, purchased in bulk by MOH, cost 250% more than retail price?
If we look at online prices of Paracetamol in the UK, Paracetamol costs only a fraction of MOH’s “$6.29” ie a box of 16’s costs S$.50 which is 10 times less than MOH’s stated price.
MOH purchases Paracetamol in bulk, in the millions, and should have been able to buy Paracetamol at lower than online prices. Why does MOH prefer to buy Paracetamol at such high prices? Which company does MOH buy from?
3 – Government grant is “$46.12”.
Attendance at polyclinics was 4,623,600 in 2013. If government grants average $46 per patient, more than $212 million would have been paid by the government annually.
The government grant is an expenditure item. Who/which companies are the recipients of government grants?
Including the government grant, the total actual cost to see a doctor at a PUBLIC clinic for 5 minutes (cough) amounts to $54.04. A private clinic charges much less. This is ridiculous considering polyclinics:
– do not pay rent
– are not profit making
– have overall lower staff costs
– purchase medication in bulk
– provide a lower service than private clinics eg longer waiting time
Who are the recipients of government grants?
*Correction – Full cost of Paracetamol should be ‘$5.29’, not ‘$6.29’