Forum: Patients with simple ailments should avoid hogging polyclinic queues

I read with worry the account shared by Mrs Patricia Goh in her letter (Long wait at polyclinic but still did not get to see doctor, March 14).

It seems that despite the public-private-Government experience in the management of Covid-19 over the past three years, much is to be desired in patients’ health-seeking behaviour.

Patients with simple ailments do not need to head to a polyclinic or a hospital accident and emergency department. A general practitioner can manage simple ailments and more.

Employers and their human resource departments should not make use of the public healthcare system for employee healthcare benefits because in doing so, public money will be used for corporate healthcare, which is not how taxpayer money should be spent.

The work load from this group of patients will add to the strain that doctors and healthcare staff in hospitals and polyclinics face. This will result in patients who otherwise need care at these institutions being deprived of the level of care they need.

The public also needs to place more trust in the processes of our healthcare institutions. These are usually implemented with good reasons.

A clinical triage and initial assessment done by a health professional like a nurse helps in the allocation of limited healthcare resources in an institution. This follows the basic principle of allowing the more ill and infirm to seek help first.

Patients who visit any health institution should not go with the expectation that they will be seen immediately, but that they will be advised to follow instructions at the institution.

With more mutual cooperation, trust and understanding, our healthcare institutions will be able to carry out their duties properly.

Jeremy Chan Zi Ping (Dr)

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