Parliament: GPs encouraged to join primary care networks to better care for people with chronic ailments

General practitioners (GPs) are being encouraged to join primary care networks, which will allow them to pool their resources and keep a closer eye on their patients.
General practitioners (GPs) are being encouraged to join primary care networks, which will allow them to pool their resources and keep a closer eye on their patients.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new scheme will help general practitioners (GP) better manage patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.

Known as primary care networks (PCNs), these virtual groupings will allow doctors to pool resources and keep a closer eye on their patients.

For example, the first such network - set up as a pilot project by Frontier Healthcare in 2012 - employs roving nurses who visit individual GP clinics to give patients personalised advice on how to manage their health.

Mobile screening buses also visit these clinics to provide eye and foot checks for diabetics, which GPs often do not have the equipment to carry out on their own.

"Currently, only 20 per cent of our primary care attendances are in polyclinics; the remainder are with private GPs," said Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min in Parliament on Thursday (March 9) during the debate on the ministry's Budget.

He added that primary care doctors are also seeing more people with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Dr Lam said that the application period for GPs interested to join a PCN will start in April and last two months. He added that funding will also be made available to GPs to care for patients with complex chronic conditions.

 

Dr Lam also said that two new family medicine clinics in Keat Hong and Tampines will be operational early this year, while polyclinics are opening this year in Jurong West and Punggol.

New polyclinics in Bukit Panjang, Eunos and Sembawang can be operational by 2020. He also announced that a new polyclinic in the Kallang/Balestier area will be ready by 2020.