SingHealth, NUH to stop using agents by end of Oct

NUH and SingHealth say their priority is to serve Singaporeans but there are also overseas patients who seek their services.
NUH and SingHealth say their priority is to serve Singaporeans but there are also overseas patients who seek their services.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

WHAT SINGHEALTH SAYS

As public healthcare institutions, our priority is to serve our local population, especially Singaporeans and permanent residents.

Singapore's healthcare system and quality of care is highly regarded in the region. As such, there are some patients from overseas who choose to seek treatment as private patients at our healthcare institutions.

Medical associates provide assistance to overseas patients seeking complex treatment here. Their primary role is to help the patients navigate the healthcare system. They advise patients on the relevant health records needed, and assist with administrative processes, paperwork and travel arrangements. They are non-exclusive to SingHealth and charge an administrative fee (per patient) for their services.

SingHealth has been reviewing the service agreements with medical associates and will cease the agreements by the end of next month.

WHAT NATIONAL UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL SAYS

NUH's foremost priority is to provide care for Singaporeans.

There are, however, overseas patients who wish to seek care at NUH either directly or through their doctors in their own countries.

In some cases, these referrals may be coordinated by a small group of service providers whose role is to provide administrative assistance to these potential patients.

 
 

NUH reviews all referrals to ensure that it has the capacity, capability and resources to provide treatment that will be beneficial to the patient. Singaporeans are given priority, for appointments and hospital beds.

NUH reviews its operating procedures including how it assists overseas patients.

NUH has reviewed its use of service providers and has decided to discontinue the practice by the end of next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 30, 2018, with the headline 'SingHealth, NUH to stop using agents by end of Oct'. Print Edition | Subscribe