4th Jan 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms He Ting Ru
MP for Sengkang GRC
Question No. 334
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the average waiting time for patients seeking to make outpatient appointments at specialist clinics at restructured hospitals in each month of 2020; and (b) what are the measures put in place to ensure any backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic are cleared as quickly as possible.
From January to November 2020, the median appointment waiting time for subsidised patients at the public hospitals’ Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOC) ranged from 24 days to 35 days (see Table 1). The waiting time has trended downwards from the height of Circuit-Breaker period of 35 days in May to 25 days in November.
Throughout the year, the hospitals have adopted various measures to improve access while balancing the healthcare resources to manage COVID-19 and safe management measures at the SOC. These measures include prioritising those with higher medical needs for earlier SOC appointment, providing tele-consultation for suitable patients, providing home-delivery of medications so that patients can be assured of sufficient supply of medications, regular case review by the doctor-in-charge and contacting the patients to check on their progress and offering earlier tele-consultation or in-person consultation at the SOC if needed. Referring polyclinics will also assist to refer patients to hospitals with shorter appointment waiting time.
MOH is closely monitoring the appointment waiting time for patients and working with the hospitals to implement measures to enable more timely access to SOC care. MOH would like to thank all patients for their kind understanding during this exceptional period.