Gongxi, No Facai?
angry doc doesn't quite know how to comment on this letter to the ST forum today without sounding rude, so he will just reproduce it here for his readers.
Clinic charged $42 for consultation over CNY
DURING the long weekend to celebrate Chinese New Year, an incident occurred which I feel I have to clear my doubts about.
It happened that my grandmother had gastric flu and had to consult a doctor. As it was a public holiday, we had to go to Tampines Central where there was a 24-hour family clinic.
It is actually quite heartening to know there is still a clinic nearby when you need one, even on a public holiday.
When we reached the clinic, we found out it charged $42 for consultation alone. This charge applied from Feb 17 to 20, from 7am to midnight. It did not include any medicine or anything else.
I find it disturbing that patients are charged such a high amount just for consultation. Are the doctors different? Is the service provided different?
Just because the clinic is open 24 hours and has to stay open during public holidays, it does not have the right to raise consultation fees so high.
It is true that staff may have to be paid more during public holidays, but there were three staff members at the dispensary when two would have been more than sufficient.
I would like to know if there are rules or guidelines which private clinics have to follow regarding the charging of consultation fees during public holidays. I do not think it is right that patients who fall ill during this period are charged so much more.
It may be reasonable to charge $20, but $42 is far too much. On a normal day, $42 would be more than enough to pay for the consultation and medicine.
Andrew Chia Teck Fatt
Coincidentally, we discussed this same topic almost exactly a year ago. Some things will never change...