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Accessibility to medications

We refer to Ms Cheong Ai Luan’s letter (Polyclinics should be able to fill prescriptions, March 7).

Polyclinic capacity is sized to serve primarily polyclinic patients. While some polyclinics can fill private prescriptions, not all are able to do so due to limited capacity which may affect wait times and result in crowding. 

The formulary in the polyclinics is based on medications commonly used for the management of chronic and common conditions in public healthcare institutions. Hence, polyclinics will not be able to dispense medications prescribed by private medical professionals which are not on their formulary.

To improve accessibility of care particularly for vulnerable patients, we have over the years expanded capacity across our network of polyclinics to support filling of prescriptions for patients receiving subsidised home care. 

Patients and caregivers with prescriptions from private home care providers are encouraged to go to retail pharmacies to fill their prescriptions, to reduce the load on polyclinics and public hospitals during this period.

Members of the public should first call the pharmacies to check on the availability of the medicines before heading to the pharmacies.

We thank Ms Cheong for her feedback and will continue to review and improve the accessibility of care, including working with private healthcare providers to facilitate accessibility to medications.

Ruth Lim (Dr)
Director, Primary and Community Care Division
Ministry of Health

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