The Straits Times
Published on Nov 15, 2012

Bogged down by health aid scheme's red tape


MY 92-YEAR-OLD mother has been hospitalised at Changi General Hospital for multiple complications, including dementia, since Oct 16.

She passed the means test for the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly, but had to be assessed for her disabilities by a doctor from the appointed assessor before approval could be granted.

I was shocked to learn that the doctors at the hospital are not eligible to assess her suitability for the programme.

I was told by the appointed assessor to get a hospital doctor to give a written summary of my mother's complications, current condition, diagnosis and medications.

An external doctor appointed by the assessor came to the hospital, asked me about my mother's previous and current conditions, and took down her medical summary. I had to pay a total charge of $40.

Why do I have to get an external doctor to assess my mother's condition when she is already in a hospital?

The hospital has senior consultants and other highly qualified doctors, yet none was allowed to make the assessment.

This is a waste of time and resources.

I was also told that the whole procedure, from the means test to approval being granted, could take four months or longer.

With our ageing population, we need to cut the red tape to ensure that assistance can be rendered as soon as possible.

Lee Chin Kiang