After news surfaced yesterday (30 Sep) that Ministry of Health (MOH) had instructed all public hospitals to terminate their contracts with foreign agents who refer foreign patients from overseas to them, SingHealth has quietly blocked access to its web page featuring its "International Medical Service".
In a public statement yesterday, MOH said that the priority of public healthcare institutions is to serve Singaporeans’ healthcare needs. They “are not allowed to actively market themselves to foreign patients”. SingHealth's hospitals were named as some of the public healthcare institutions using foreign agencies to actively solicit for foreign patients.
It was reported that the agents can earn a lucrative commission fees of up to as high as 8 per cent of the patient’s hospital bill.
SingHealth's International Medical Service provides VIP treatments to foreign patients
In any case, through Google's cache, a snapshot of the SingHealth's blocked webpage from last Sat (29 Sep) can still be found online:
On the webpage, it said that SingHealth's International Medical Services (IMS) team "provides a wide spectrum of services to patients from overseas and their family members, ensuring them of a pleasant and comfortable experience throughout their stay".
The VIP treatments given to foreign patients include:
- Appointments and Referrals
- Admission Services - IMS team will receive foreign patients and accompany them through the registration and admission process.
- Accommodation - helps find a hotel or serviced apartment for foreign patients at special SingHealth's corporate rate.
- Transportation - arrange transfer to hospital from airport or hotel, via limousine, ambulance or taxi
- Interpreters for non-English speaking patients
- Foreign exchange service
- Laundry service
- Mail postage and delivery service
- Private nursing service
- Portering service
- Business Centre Services including extension of social visit passes
- Evacuation/Return to Home Country
International Medical Services at SGH
SGH is one of hospitals operating under SingHealth group. At the moment, the webpage on its international medical services has not yet been blocked or taken down.
The IMS department of SGH is located at Block 6 Level 1 of SGH:
Despite what MOH said about the priority of public healthcare institutions is "to serve Singaporeans’ healthcare needs", it's unlikely the public hospitals will dismantle their IMS departments, especially given the lucrative profits they can exact from overseas foreign patients.
Incidentally, according to its webpage, SingHealth's CEO is Ivg Ng, wife of Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen: