Friday, October 21, 2011

Subsidy or Profiteering ?

Are our healthcare and medicines at Polyclinics and government subsidised hospitals really SUBSIDISE? Or is it just playing around with numbers and words just like what happened to HDB flat pricing? Mah BT has been defending his profiteering HDB policies to his last day, insistng that HDB flat is affordable though it cost nearly half a million and 30 years to service one's housing loan. So how does our govt defines subsidised healthcare and medicine?

There has been some commotions in the internet that those so call subsidised healthcare and medicine, are in fact more costly than if you get them private clinic and pharmacy. From my personal experience recently, this is true. We know Guardian Pharmacy is out to make profit. But surprise, surprise - medicines purchase from Guardian cost less than those from Polyclinic. I suffered from rashes and consulted the doctor at a Polyclinic. 20 tablets of Clorphenamine cost $1.40 from the Polyclinic. At Guardian, 50 tablets of the same medicine cost $1.50. So Polyclinic makes more than 100% profit over what Guardian does! Is there any subsidy at all?

They buy in bulk and the discount is there. To a layman subsidy means selling below cost price to us. For example, an item cost $1.50. The Polyclinic got it at $1. The govt folk out 30 cents and it is sold to us at 70 cents. The subsidy is thus 30 cents.

From this incident, looks like they are not even selling it at cost to us, but profiteering tremendously since they are selling way above Guardian Pharmacy price!

Their formula for subsidy must be similar to those used in 'creative accounting' found in those devious financial reporting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

'Stuck' ...'Stifling'...Singapore

I was on a bus last week and overheard two teenage students talking. They are studying in local government schools as I can gathered from their uniform. One is a Canadian Chinese while the other from India. The Indian girl was telling her friend that as long as her kid brother does not become PR or take up citizenship, he need not do NS. Sigh - her brother is probably around 10 years old and her family is already planning for his escape. The Indian girl then lamented that she is 'stuck' in Singapore, while the other said the country is 'stifling'.

These are the feelings of youngsters from new immigrant families who the government welcome and try to integrate. They are doomed to fail. These foreign students prefer to mix amongst themselves. They miss their motherland and their heart is not here. When they grow up, they will return to their homeland or migrate to some other countries.

Our government is in denial. They are pouring millions into integration programs for new immigrants. They offer generous scholarships to foreign students and subsidies their education in S'pore. All these efforts and money could have been put to better use to benefit local students and the disadvantages.

Our elderly are working in their twilight years, struggling to make ends meet have been so glaring that it not only sadden most of us, but also surprise foreigners. This is a side of S'pore they don't expect to see. After all, the city projects a 'wealthy' and 'clean' image of 1st world country, that even beggars do not 'exist' on our streets.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mdm Lift & Mr Dirty

Mdm Lift is a ginger tabby which loves to hang around the lift lobby on the ground floor. She will eagerly board the lift with anyone who allow her in. That is how I came to name her Mdm Lift. She is stray cat and a kind hearted one. She shows her compassion to fellow 'sick' cat by rubbing heads with it as a form of greeting.

There is a sick tom cat which salivate badly. I call him Mr Sick. He loves to rub his head against other cats as a form of greeting. But all other strays avoided his friendly gesture,except Mdm Lift. Mr Sick is also a very dirty cat. I have no idea how he got into this state and continue to maintain his dirtiness. I have been actively cleaning him with wet tissues but it does not help. He remains dirty. He has got better over the month, so I renamed him Mr Dirty, as another stray feeder protested that I called him Mr Sick. She prefers the name Mr Healthy for auspicious reason. Personally, I think Mr Dirty fits him better. I never seen any cat as dirty as him. Perhaps it is one of his surviving strategy ? He looks so pathetic that he is always fed first and he gets the choicest food.

Back to Mdm Lift. When I first noticed her, she was not sterilized. When she was on heat, she was surrounded by more than 7 tom cats which flocked to my block from the surrounding HDB. Neighbours were both surprised and amused by the gathering of cats. So we had cat concerto for a few nights. Luckily some kind hearted souls started sterilising the strays. Now Mdm Lift is neutralised and no longer a prima donna.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Waiting Time

I went for a walk with Nature Society and one of the participants mentioned that her elderly mum walked out of SNEC specialist clinic after hours of waiting. Yeah, it is true, the average waiting time is at least 2 hours even with appointment. It is not uncommon to spend at least 4 hours at the clinic if they send you for test(s).

I have been going to SNEC regularly this year since I was diagnosed with Glaucoma. I can verify that even in specialise clinic, the patient load is very heavy. So one can image what happens in the polyclinics.

Health Care - Overload

Besides our transport infrastructure being overload, our hospitals, polyclinics and specialist clinics are also badly overload. So now the government is trying to get us to consult our GPs instead. But getting patients to go to their GPs is unlikely to resolve the problem. Even with subsidy, GP consultation will cost more.

MOH should consider having more than 1 Polyclinic per estate. Some estate has larger population than others, and having 1 polyclinic is insufficient to meet the patient load. Bearing in mind S'pore population has increase to more than 5 millions the last decade, the existing numbers of polyclinic could not cope with the demand. For example, the entrance lobby space has been shrink in some polyclinic due to extra chairs and counters set up to handle the patient initial registration. Patient load and traffic increase and yet public space decreases, which resulted in overcrowding.

Then the clinic stops taking in patients without appointment at 10 am though it operates till 12.30pm on Sat. This resulted in many patients being turned away. The reason is it has reached the maximum patient load for the day. This is due to lack of foresight by MOH. Now they try to get GP to lighten the load. But our govt is responsible to ensure affordable health care. Should not MOH starts planning for more polyclinics to be build ?