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Photo of A&E of Singapore General Hospital (Terry Xu)

MOH: No answer as to what help Govt can provide for A&E referrals by GPs

The questions asked to the Minister for Health at the 22nd session of the 13th Parliament by Mr Desmond Choo, a Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC

The questions raised were:

  • What is the average percentage of patients referred by private GPs to Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments in Government hospitals and not warded.
  • How can the Government better help such patients from being subjected to excessive medical charges as they would be billed by the GP and A&E Department for the same illness.

The Minister of Health, Gan Kim Yong replied by saying that about 70% of around 39,000 patients referred by general practitioners (GPs) to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments of public hospitals in 2015 were not required to be warded after being assessed and treated by the A&E doctors.

"However we should not assume that a patient who is not warded has been inappropriately referred by his GP." wrote Mr Gan in his written reply.

"These patients may require further review or monitoring in the A&E setting. They may also require additional tests or treatment using specialised instruments that are not available at the GP clinics."

For the large majority of patients, the A&E referrals by their GPs are appropriate for their medical conditions.

In not answering Mr Choo's question, Mr Gan went on to state that the Regional Health Systems and Restructured Hospitals will continue to work closely with their GP partners to provide good quality primary care, and to minimize the need for Singaporeans to seek treatment at acute hospitals.