We thank Mr K. Ravintharan for his suggestion to extend the operating hours of our polyclinics ("Extend polyclinics' operating hours"; Sept 21).
Polyclinics and general practitioners (GPs) are responsible for the provision of primary care.
Currently, GP clinics islandwide play a key role in providing 80 per cent of the primary care needs of Singaporeans.
Besides being accessible, GP clinics also offer affordable primary care through the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas). Currently, about 950 GP clinics participate in Chas, and of these, more than 300 operate in the evenings.
This extensive network of clinics is able to cater to the primary care needs of Singaporeans beyond the operating hours of polyclinics.
To ensure continued delivery of care beyond their operating hours, polyclinics share the contact details of nearby GP clinics with patients, so that they may seek treatment there after polyclinic operating hours.
To make it more convenient for working adults with chronic diseases to manage their condition, some polyclinics also collaborate with GPs, so that such patients are referred to a GP clinic nearer their homes for regular follow-up.
We will continue to work with polyclinics and GPs to strengthen primary care and to meet the evolving healthcare needs of Singaporeans.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Ministry of Health