The Definitive Guide to Find a Doctor in Singapore in 5 Different Ways
Singapore has no shortage of health care providers, hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and health clinics in the country. Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Health and the public and private sector, the Singapore health care system has grown so much when it comes to medical science and technology, with patients not having to go out of the country to get high-quality and premium medical procedures and services. A lot of doctors in Singapore are highly trained as well, with a lot of them getting their education from abroad and coming back to contribute to the country what they’ve learned.
Ironically, because of this, it may be confusing to a lot of people on how to find the exact doctor you need for your medical situation. In this article, I’ve listed for your convenience the different ways to find a doctor in Singapore.
Through private GP clinics
There are almost 1500 GP clinics across all of Singapore, and it’s very easy for citizens and residents to find a nearby GP clinic no matter where they are in the country. GP clinics are also less crowded compared to public or private hospitals, and a lot of them accept walk-in patients. These clinics are also conveniently located in busy areas, such as malls and business districts, which make them very accessible to the general public.
Unfortunately, most GP clinics operate at a time period that’s almost identical with a lot of the workforce – basically Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. This makes visiting a GP clinic a tricky situation for most workers, as they have to take some time off from their jobs to go to a consultation. Also, private GP clinics are generally more expensive compared to other options.
Polyclinics offer both general and specialist medical care and services to their patients. In Singapore, there are 20 polyclinics with their locations in areas with dense populations to accommodate the greatest number of people. Health care and services from polyclinics are subsidized, which means net costs are lower compared to private GP clinics.
Polyclinics specialize in providing primary care to their patients and are able to help manage a lot of common illnesses. In cases, where they can’t help though, polyclinics will refer you to either a hospital or specialist but at a subsidized rate. Polyclinics are one of the best options for residents who want the best value for their money, as long as there is one near their location.
Some drawbacks of polyclinics are that there are only a few of them in the country, and that waiting times are much longer compared to other options.
Through Private Hospitals
Private hospitals operate as a business, and thus the costs are much more expensive compared to public medical facilities. In fact, there are very big discrepancies in the fees in private hospitals compared to public hospitals, with some medical services costing more than twice of the same service from a public hospital.
The high fees translate, however, into better services for their patient as well as high-quality accommodation and luxurious comforts in their stay. Some of the best doctors in the country work in these private hospitals, so patients are sure to get the best and most consistent health care services. Waiting times are also much, much shorter, which also allows the doctors to have more time for the consultation – good news for both doctor and patient.
Through Public Hospitals
Singapore has 8 public hospitals across the country, with 6 general hospitals, 1 women’s and children’s hospital and 1 hospital for psychiatry. Public hospitals provide several different health services, from primary care to specialist services with the latest high-quality medical equipment. What’s even better is that public hospitals offer 24-hour medical services, so every patient can be accommodated at any given time. Public hospitals are also subsidized, which means lower costs for citizens in availing their services compared to private facilities.
Unfortunately, based on a recent study by the Ministry of Health, waiting times in public hospitals can reach up to four hours. Not a good sign for a lot of patients. The accommodation for patients is also not ideal, with most rooms shared between multiple patients.
Through Web or Mobile Apps (House Call Doctors)
Thanks to the Internet, one method to find a doctor that has become increasingly popular in Singapore recently is calling them in through an app called Speedoc. Using a computer or a smartphone connected to the Internet, Singaporeans can request a doctor’s consultation or ambulance on-demand in the comfort of their own homes. The patient’s current location is shared with the doctor to save time, and patients can expect the doctor to arrive in mere minutes after the request. The doctor brings his/her own medical kit and equipment, and all the patient needs to do is wait for the doctor to arrive in his/her own doorstep. This way is also advantageous for pregnant women, elderly patients and persons with disabilities (PWD) as they no longer have to travel to the health care facility.
This method of finding a doctor is still relatively new, however, and only basic health care services can be given to the patient. There are more and more specialists that do house calls though, and maybe through technological advancements, higher-quality health care can be given in the patient’s own home. Consultation fees are also generally very expensive, as house call doctors can visit only a small number of patients per day.