The Straits Times
Published on Dec 05, 2012

Needlessly troublesome red tape over a simple blood test


UPON discharge from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Nov 11, I was given a letter and advised to take a blood test at the nearest polyclinic after a week's rest at home.

On Monday, I duly visited the Bukit Batok Polyclinic. As it was a Monday, there was a crowd.

When I told the receptionist about the SGH letter, she insisted that I must consult a doctor at the polyclinic before I could take the blood test.

After I explained that I did not require seeing a doctor as I had consulted the SGH consultant, she checked with her superiors and offered me two options:

First, consult the polyclinic doctor and then take the test - an option that would have entailed a three-hour wait because of the crowd. I would obtain the results after a week and could consult the doctor again then.

Second, I could take the test without consulting the polyclinic doctor. The results would be dispatched to SGH, and I would have to visit the hospital's consultant after the results were out.

I chose the second option even though it would entail a 20km journey to SGH.

I am a senior citizen and I wonder why the polyclinic should make it so difficult for patients like me. Are polyclinic rules cast in stone?

Heng Cho Choon