Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

MOH= penny wise & pound foolish; treats illness only when it is too late.

Isn't prevention better than cure? Indeed, an ancient Chinese saying states:
“The superior doctor prevents sickness; The mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness; The inferior doctor treats actual sickness;”

Thus the doubt that MOH is actually doing anything to prevent people's illnesses from deteriorating (see ST letter below 'Subsidise more treatments at polyclinics'): so much to the extent that they need lengthy hospitalisations and treatments just to live another day (or is MOH just pandering to drug and technology companies and thus encouraging people to fall sick just so that they can utilise the expensive patented medical products when their medical conditions have deteriorated to a terminal stage (& make shareholders of drug + med tech companies $$$wealthy in the process))? Why does the MOH fail to provide ANY subsidy for essential allied healthcare services: e.g. physiotherapy/ podiatry services which can immensely improve a patient's health awareness/ habits and reverse/ prevent early illness from deteriorating to the stage where hospitalisation is acutely necessary to just to sustain life (平时不烧香,临时抱佛脚 [ping shi bu shao xiang , lin shi bao fo jiao] is a good description of MOH approach to public health in Singapore ).

Due to the wrong focus of funding, is MOH just being penny wise and pound foolish and wasting tax payers monies in the process???

I believe a significant shift to healthy lifestyle adoption/ preventive health care emphasis is urgently necessary if any avoidance of national healthcare costs spiraling out of control/ shooting through the roof is to be achieved.

Lack of interest in preventive healthcare in Singapore has cause public healthcare costs to balloon almost 2x over 3 yrs ending 2014 to S$7.5billion
- ST, 18Mar2014: 'Change mindset to curb rising health-care costs in Singapore'"The Government's expenditure on health care has almost doubled in just three short years - from $4 billion in FY2011 to $7.5 billion in FY2014.
This does not take into account the $8 billion put aside for the pioneer generation... What Singapore needs is the mother of paradigm shifts.
First, people need to stay healthy for as long as possible.
Bad habits like smoking, binge drinking, sedentary lifestyles, and high sugar and fat consumption are still rampant.
... The Health Promotion Board was set up to tackle just this problem.
Unfortunately, progress is slow, while poor health will snowball as the population ages with little regard to staying fit.
It would be better if a larger part of health expenditure is spent on prevention rather than treatment, too.
Another shift that is needed is a move towards better and stronger primary and community care, so that chronic diseases can be kept under control and not result in ever-worsening health..... "

Proof that preventive healthcare in Singapore is just lip-service; efforts to change people's lifestyles is probably just make-believe:
- ST, 02Dec2015: 'Singapore 'has 2nd-highest proportion of diabetics'"Singapore has the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations, a new report by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) revealed.... 10.53 per cent of people in Singapore aged between 20 and 79 are estimated to have the chronic disease, ... Only the United States fared worse, with a percentage of 10.75.
...'In many cases, obesity leads to insulin-resistance, so obesity is a big driving factor behind diabetes.'... that if people change their lifestyles 'very aggressively' - such as by watching their diet and ramping up exercise - it is possible to reverse early type 2 diabetes.... 'However, lifestyle factors such as work, late hours and irregular meals make it hard for them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.'"

Subsidise more treatments at polyclinics
I recently had to consult a podiatrist in a SingHealth polyclinic and was surprised to learn that I enjoyed a subsidy of only 30 per cent for this service.
SingHealth said the Ministry of Health (MOH) does not offer any direct subsidy for this service and it is SingHealth itself which offers the 30 per cent subsidy.
Apparently, MOH also does not provide subsidies for physiotherapy in such institutions.

On the other hand, patients who go to public hospitals enjoy higher subsidies of about 75 per cent for all types of services.
Both public hospitals and polyclinics are under the purview of MOH, so it is strange that the subsidy level varies so widely between them for some services.
MOH is encouraging patients to first seek primary healthcare providers (polyclinics included) before swamping public hospitals.
But its policy of granting vastly different subsidies for these two public institutions for some treatments is doing the opposite.
Patients who are aware of the discrepancy will almost certainly prefer to go to public hospitals to enjoy the higher subsidies.

Many people need podiatry and physiotherapy treatments. Both affect the mobility and quality of life for patients, so MOH should provide subsidies for them in polyclinics, too.
Tan Say Yin (Ms)

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