We agree with Mr David Lam Yan Choon that polyclinics should go green ("Polyclinics should go green"; last Sunday).
The National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) has implemented many green and paperless initiatives, such as an electronic medical records system, electronic prescriptions and the ordering of laboratory tests, as well as e-referrals to public hospitals, as part of our efforts to provide more efficient and eco-friendly services.
However, as we continually explore ways to be environmentally friendly, we will have to consider patient safety and the needs of different patient groups.
To increase efficiency and reduce medication errors,
NHGP has automated the packing of medication into boxes for dispensing to individual patients.
The medication boxes are sealed on both sides to be tamper-proof, as a medication safety feature. The windows on the boxes provide easy identification of medications for our staff and patients, especially the elderly.
Unlike the polythene bags used previously, these boxes are made of recyclable paper endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
To reduce waiting time, we have been actively encouraging patients to use our self-payment kiosks for greater convenience and a faster payment experience.
The separate queue ticket is issued only for patients who prefer to make their payment over the counter, so that they do not need to stand in line while waiting for their turn.
As pointed out by Mr Lam, NHGP has also done away with the use of handwritten appointment cards, and patients' appointment and visit details are now clearly printed on A5-sized paper for patients' easy reference.
We thank Mr Lam for his feedback and will continually strive towards being more green and serving patients better.
Lew Yii Jen (Dr)
Senior Director Clinical Services
National Healthcare Group Polyclinics