Clear the air over haze subsidy criteria

On Oct 7, my 11-year-old son visited a Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) because of cough and a runny nose.

Although he showed symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection and is below 18, he was denied the haze subsidy by the clinic.

The doctor said my son did not qualify for the haze subsidy because he had a slight temperature of 37.6 deg C when measured by an ear thermometer only once (a fact that I disputed).

Puzzled by the doctor's comment, I checked the Ministry of Health (MOH) website and ascertained that my son would have qualified for the subsidy based on the information on the website.

I also called up the MOH general information line to seek clarification and was told that fever was not a factor to refuse one's claim of the haze subsidy.

On Oct 9, I called the MOH general information line again and requested a review of my son's case.

Although I was assured that an officer would be in touch in a week's time, to date, I have not heard from MOH.

I applaud the Government for initiating the haze subsidy scheme to help Singaporeans during the haze period.

However, I am unclear about the administrative and qualifying criteria for the scheme as MOH and the PHPC appear to have different interpretations of the qualifying criteria.

I also appeal to MOH to come up with a formal complaint framework for the haze subsidy scheme to address any dispute between patients and PHPC clinics.

Yiu Wing Lit

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2015, with the headline 'Clear the air over haze subsidy criteria'. Print Edition | Subscribe