Contrary to Dr Hajime Ichiseki's view ("Third-party agents helpful in matching patients to docs"; Dec 20, 2016), getting a referral to an appropriate specialist in Singapore is direct and simple.
Any visit to a general practitioner or hospital will ensure patients get attended to by the needed specialist or sub-specialist.
The doctor and patient then play equal roles in determining appropriate therapies. A third party is superfluous.
Third-party agents are not the best people to edify patients bewildered by conflicting information; doctors are.
Doctors who need medical concierges to sustain good doctor-patient relationships, with the exception of translators, have failed in their primary role.
Still, there is a role for third-party agents in ancillary matters. In such cases, fixed fees collected by them need to be clearly stated and made known to patients, separate from what the doctor charges.
Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)