We thank Mr Loong Chik Tong for his feedback on the experience he had at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) (Long wait to see doctor at eye centre, Dec 18, 2020).
Mr Loong asked if the SNEC clinic he visited was overwhelmed with patients. The SNEC Ocular Inflammation and Immunology Clinic manages complex cases, usually requiring multiple tests to be performed before the patient sees the doctor.
These tests allow our doctors to perform a more comprehensive assessment of eye conditions, which may contribute to the longer wait time for these patients.
Because this clinic is a subspeciality clinic that caters to complex eye conditions, a longer consultation time may be required, especially when urgent intervention and impromptu investigations are required for management.
As Mr Loong mentioned, he required an impromptu anterior chamber tap procedure to be performed which accounted for the additional waiting time on his second visit. He also received therapy while waiting for the procedure to be performed.
We agree with Mr Loong that long waiting times are not ideal for patients, especially if they are elderly, and we will continue to enhance our internal processes to address this.
Last year, due to social distancing restrictions, we also implemented safety measures while aiming to minimise waiting times.
SNEC reviews the workload regularly to ensure that each doctor's clinic load is balanced and patients are seen in a timely manner at their scheduled appointment times.
We have also introduced free home delivery of medications to shorten patients' stay at SNEC.
We plan to implement video consultations for suitable patients.
We are also actively discharging patients who do not need regular follow-up so that we can manage more complex eye problems that require treatment.
We seek Mr Loong's and other patients' understanding as we implement these measures.
Mr Loong also mentioned the cost of Simbrinza eye drops. As this is a non-standard eye drop, given only when standard eye drops are not suitable, it does not qualify for any government subsidy.
We have contacted Mr Loong to clarify his waiting times and address his concerns.
Anita Chan (Dr)
Senior Consultant and Head
Ocular Inflammation and Immunology Department
Singapore National Eye Centre