We thank Mr David Soh Poh Huat for his letter (Do public hospitals profit from medical procedures done?; March 11 ).
Whole-body scans account for more than 90 per cent of positron emission tomography (PET)-CT scans done at Singapore General Hospital. The charges for this service, with and without intravenous contrast, are $2,400 and $2,300 before GST respectively.
Our charges reflect the underlying costs of providing the service. This includes manpower, supplies and consumables, maintenance and depreciation, and other non-direct costs such as having an integrated clinical IT platform where images are digitally archived and patients' medical records stored and made easily accessible for doctors' consultations across all public healthcare institutions.
This ensures timely diagnosis and access to care.
Our charges are comparable to those of most other hospitals in the public and private sectors, although we note that one private PET centre charges $1,600 for some groups of patients, as stated in Mr Soh's letter.
Apart from differences in the specific types of machines and sensitivity of scans, there may be differences in clinical protocols and software used, which could have an impact on longer-term management of patients with complex and multiple conditions.
Various providers may also have different pricing strategies.
Patients can discuss with their doctors the appropriateness of any scan and decide where they prefer to get the scan done.
Ang Kwok Ann
Chief Financial Officer
Singapore General Hospital