Beware bureaucracy in new healthcare cluster system

The review of hospital clusters is a good and efficient move by the Ministry of Health ("Coming soon to a cluster near you: Seamless healthcare"; Jan 19).

The cost efficiencies and integrated care can only serve to benefit the community.

It must not, however, become bureaucratic, with doctors in different clusters refusing to communicate with one another when there are patients who may have medical treatment in two different clusters.

My experience is an example of this.

My father undergoes treatment at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), but the polyclinic he goes to for primary care is located in Clementi. Hence, he was sent to see a doctor at National University Hospital (NUH).

The NUH doctor did not call or e-mail SGH for any clarification. We had to personally take his documents to both the polyclinic and SGH.

I hope the MOH can impress upon doctors that patient care comes first, and ensure that bureaucracy does not adversely affect any patient.

I hope it will bring about seamless care by ensuring doctors communicate, regardless of cluster.

Juliana Ang Hiok Lian (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2017, with the headline 'Beware bureaucracy in new healthcare cluster system'. Print Edition | Subscribe