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Subsidised specialised dental treatment

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Shahira Abdullah
Nominated MP

Question No. 1126

To ask the Minister for Health as specialised subsidised dental treatment is currently only available for patients with internal referrals made to the dental clinic within the same hospital (a) whether subsidised specialised dental treatment can be extended to external referral sources such as polyclinics, public healthcare institutions and government agencies; (b) what is the current waiting list for specialised dental care at the current dental National Specialty Centres; and (c) what is the percentage of in-patient referrals that are seen at the hospital dental clinics currently.

Written Answer

Subsidised patients from polyclinics and CHAS dental clinics who require specialist or complex dental treatment can be referred for specialist dental care at the National Specialty Dental Centres (NSCs) viz. the National Dental Centre, Singapore (NDCS) and the National University Centre of Oral Health, Singapore (NUCOHS). These centres provide the full suite of subsidised dental services for subsidised patients referred for MOH-approved procedures and treatment. NSCs may also receive subsidised referrals from public hospitals and other government bodies such as the Health Promotion Board (HPB), when assessed to be clinically appropriate. The current median waiting time to first appointment for non-emergency cases at NSCs is 33 days. Patients with emergency dental conditions may visit the Emergency Department of public hospitals and will be prioritised and attended to promptly, based on the severity of their conditions. 

Hospital Dental Clinics (HDCs) were set up to provide dental services to hospital patients who require dental treatment, as part of management of their overall medical or surgical condition(s). As the services and capacity available at HDCs are circumscribed for this purpose, external referral sources are generally not accepted and HDCs should refer eligible patients to NSCs where services capacity or capabilities are not available at the HDCs. Where appropriate, HDCs can partner the NSCs to provide an expanded scope of subsidised services at the hospital based on services needs and specialty support by the NSCs, subject to approval by the Ministry of Health.

We will continue to monitor and meet the dental care needs of Singaporeans at the appropriate settings.

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