The following article is published by blog Diary of A Singaporean Mind on 6 February 2011.
Leong Sze Hian recently wrote a letter to the Straits Times forum asking about the large jump in the size of class “C” hospital bills [Link]. In my blog, I’ve highlight numerous cases of families (that are not rich) shouldering enormous healthcare burden due to either cracks or inadequecies in the system. In the past 4 years, class “C” bills have nearly doubled and this escalating cost hit the sick and their family really hard. The latest case being that of Olympic hero Tan Howe Liang’s wife who had breast cancer [see article below]- fortunately an anonymous donor came the family’s rescue.
The MOH’s reply to Leong Sze Hian generated by its PR (Corporate Communications) dept dismisses his concerns without addressing the real issue.
Class C wards are highly affordable
[Affordable? In the same sense that HDB flats are affordable?]
MR LEONG Sze Hian seemed to disbelieve that C-class patients would know to ask for non- subsidised drugs and implants (‘Puzzled by spike in unsubsidised items for C-class patients’; last Wednesday).
[Mr. Leong wrote that he found it hard to believe the MOH explanation that the bill increase is caused by patients asking for unsubsidized medicine and implants]
There was a time when C-class patients were largely lowly educated and ignorant of treatment options. This has changed over the years.
Many subsidised patients are now well-read and often come with Internet printouts about alternative treatment options. We welcome this development as better informed patients can participate more actively in their treatment, especially where lifestyle changes can make a critical difference to their health outcome.[This reply is really hard to believe. MOH is saying that doctors in class C ward do not offer patients the best treatment options and patients look it up themselves on the Internet? Even if what MOH said is true, why is so much of the better treatment unsubsidised? ]
With more than 42 per cent of all admissions to restructured hospitals opting for Class C wards, many are clearly not from low-income families.
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