Friday, January 17, 2014

Healthcare Crunch is exploding in our face

The current hospital bed crunch could be just the tip of the ice berg we are seeing.  After all, most of us know that besides shortage of hospital beds, our healthcare professional to patient ratio looks bad. Upon diagnosis at polyclinic of needing specialist attention, the appointment date for specialists consultation is getting longer and longer these few years. From average of 3 months to 6 months. Now it has been reported that it could be as long as 9 to 12 months. Even if one has an appointment to see a specialist, the waiting time at the clinic/hospital is about 2 to 3 hours or even longer.

At SNEC (Singapore National Eye Center) seems like their consultation appointment is also getting more and more elastic. I am a glaucoma patient and I have noticed that my check up interval have been getting longer and longer...from 3 months to 4 months, 6 months.   Now, it is more than a year!

Routine yearly check up is meant for those without eye disease, whereas patients with chronic eye diseases need to be monitored more closely for deterioration of vision which can lead to blindness. Thus, how can it be acceptable that SNEC patients' appointment be longer than 12 months interval.

I have just received a notice from SNEC to rescheduled my consultation on in Feb to Jul 14. The reason given is "Doctor On Leave" As my last consultation was on 13/6/13, it is more than 1 year interval between check-up!

My appointment had been rescheduled before, but the new appointment was about a month later. This time it is 5 months lapse! Is there such an acute shortage of doctors at SNEC that the existing ones cannot even cover for their colleague on leave ? Besides, it also seems to imply that the doctor on leave needs months to clear the backlog of patients. This is very worrying for a patient as it means SNEC is sacrificing healthcare quality service of patients due to manpower problem.

As far as I know, I don't have a any specialist assigned to me, as I have been seen by at least 5 ophthalmologists from 2011 to 2013. Thus, I find it unacceptable that SNEC postpone my consultation for 5 months resulting in more than a 1 year lapse between checkup.

The current term hospital bed crunch does not accurately reflects the dire situation on the ground.  We are having a Healthcare Crunch, where by all levels of patients care are affected. Besides hospital infrastructure and patient overload, there is a shortage of healthcare professional.

This poor planning reminds us of housing crunch recently, which is followed by a series of major MRT breakdown due to years of overloading.  Compare to housing and transport, healthcare is a more serious problem exploding in our face.  Is it acceptable that our so called 'A' team political party who are paid so handsomely be sleeping at their job ? 

No comments: