fbpx

Why did MOH provide statistics from 2008 on comparison of foreign patients admitted to public hospitals?

Public institutions should stop giving selective statistics, as it is arguably in a sense like ‘fake news’ or ‘propaganda’ which may only further undermine the already diluted trust of the public in our public institutions 

I refer to the article “Percentage of foreigners admitted to public hospitals falls from 2008” by Sunday Times, on the stop of public healthcare institutions (PHIs) engaging foreign agents to bring in overseas patients

Ministry of Health (MOH) was quoted by the paper: "Only a small proportion of the hospitals' patients were brought in via contracted overseas service providers... The majority of patients they see are locals."

MOH further states that the percentage of foreigners admitted to public hospitals here last year was lower than that for 2008. The proportion of foreigners among all inpatient and day surgery patients dropped to about 1.5 per cent. That figure was 2.4 per cent in 2008.

One of the primary reasons why foreign patients in public hospitals have decreased in proportion to the total number of patients, compared to 2008, may be because  as I understand it – the policy was changed in October 2007, such that foreign patients who choose subsidised wards may have to pay as much as 5 times that of a Singaporean patient.

Don’t you find it rather strange that we are told only of the 2008 data to compare with now?

What about the percentage in the last year, last 3 and 5 years?

As to MOM's claim that only a small proportion of the hospitals’ patients were brought in via contracted overseas service providers and that the majority of patients they see are locals – What is the percentage of foreign patients in the non-subsidised wards, instead of all wards?

What is the total sum of referral fees paid in the last year, last 3 and 5 years?

Doctors have been barred from paying referral fees to third parties since December 2016 by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC). Following the ban, the SMC president Tan Ser Kiat said in an advisory to doctors, the amount of third-party administrators (TPAs) work does not vary based on the fees that doctors charge their patients, paying percentage fees to the TPAs may be construed as a form of “fee-splitting” and could inadvertently promote cost escalation.

As the ministry overseeing public healthcare, why did MOH allow public hospitals to carry out the practice until its ban last month?

After all, isn’t this arguably, in the public interest, and in line with the online falsehoods’ committee’s recommendation that the Government should give the reasons for decisions not to disclose information to the public, and to gain the trust of the public?