Parliament: MOH receives an average of 160 bill-related complaints yearly

The Health Ministry has received around 160 cases of bill-related feedback over the past two years.
The Health Ministry has received around 160 cases of bill-related feedback over the past two years. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Health Ministry has received an average of 160 cases of bill-related feedback each year for the past two years, said Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min.

Last year, 23 of these cases received via emails were related to overcharging - the vast majority of which were against the private sector, Dr Lam said in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 28).

Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) had asked for the number of reports of excessive charging by private sector doctors in the past five years.

"Due to the change in data collection system and the classification of bill-related feedback, we are unable to compare accurately the figures year-on-year over the past five years," Dr Lam said.

Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) and Nominated MP K Thanaletchimi both asked if MOH will consider expanding the roles of community pharmacists and nurse practitioners, who are highly-trained nurses.

 

Empowering such nurses to prescribe medication and treat common ailments would make it cheaper and more convenient for patients to get treatment, they said.

"Currently, pharmacists are already allowed to prescribe certain drugs - for example, simple drugs like those for the treatment of the common cold," Dr Lam replied.

He added that many highly-trained nurses in polyclinics and hospitals already perform this expanded role.