Angry Doctor

Friday, February 23, 2007

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...

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12 Comments:

  • '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.'
    Who gave Andrew the power to decide a doctor's rights?
    Another idiot who wants everything for nothing.

    By Blogger Hua Jern, At February 23, 2007 11:59 pm  

  • Wanna bet a near-identical letter will appear in the forum page exactly one year from now? ;-)

    By Anonymous Gerald Tan, At February 24, 2007 2:01 am  

  • What is wrong with these people? They are at home enjoying their Chinese New Year while doctors spend like dunno how many of their public holidays (ie CNY, NEw year, Christmas etc etc) doing ward rounds/doing calls in the hospitals. And they are whining about paying a little bit more!?! I am sure they don't mind paying $42 for their abalone on CNY eve but they make loads of noise about paying to see a doctor!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 24, 2007 9:56 am  

  • gerald, I think chances are you will win the bet...

    By Blogger angry doc, At February 24, 2007 6:51 pm  

  • Somehow the public think that as doctors, we should be beacons of altruism - existing only to alleviate their suffering, far be it for us to profit from it, because it is our "higher calling".

    Higher calling my little toe. Nowonder all my classmates are pursuing the lifestyle specialties.

    By Anonymous lowly MO, At February 25, 2007 11:50 pm  

  • Unfortunately the lifestyle specialties are difficult to resist when it comes to pay...

    Lemme get this straight Angry Doc...you're AGAINST the patient? Would you hike up your prices during CNY?

    By Blogger The Angry Medic, At February 26, 2007 9:25 am  

  • I am not AGAINST the patient.

    I am however amused by Mr Chia's claim that he wrote the letter to clear his doubts when it seems like he has already made up his mind that it is not right that clinics charge more on a rest day.

    The practice of charging more for a service is not limited to medicine (except at the emergency department), and it reflects the premium people place on after-hours time. I make no apologies for charging higher for my professional time after-hours.

    By Blogger angry doc, At February 26, 2007 6:04 pm  

  • humans need food even more so than they need healthcare

    then why isn't anyone complaining about grocers increasing their prices on food (especially fish, chicken and eggs) during the chinese new year season?

    not to mention the roti prata sellers who take the opportunity and refuse to sell the cheaper plain pratas during CNY, when the other hawkers are closed.

    that, i find amusing

    (competing interest: author is a disillusioned medical student)

    By Blogger gonococcus, At February 28, 2007 9:24 pm  

  • Wah gonococcus is a "disillusioned medical student"?

    Quite sad to hear the term disillusioned medical student. (Goes to show how well society is treating the medical profession much less students)

    It used to be "disillusioned old doctor". I mean it's ok to become disillusioned after seeing the world for such a long time right? Young are the ones full of hope and old veterans are the cynics.

    Then "disillusioned young doctors" became the new shock phrase.

    I guess now the new catch phrase would be "disillusioned medical students"!

    Who knows next time it would be "disillusioned doctor wannabe JC students"?!!!

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At March 01, 2007 1:55 pm  

  • wellll... aren't we all disillusioned people

    problem with medicine is, we enter with enthusiasm and all, then only when we're in it do we really see the realities behind it

    especially the dilemma of healthcare economics - everyone demands the best care but most people do not want to pay for it - who's going to pay the docs then? too much work, too little remuneration

    and the difficulties of specialising in a field we want to go into

    and all those ethical issues and difficulties of dealing with death - and the relatives of the dead

    but all in all, gee, someone has to do the dirty work and i've already signed myself up for it, no?

    (PS: the word verification thing is EXTREMELY annoying - it doesn't always display and when it does, it's often unreadable, even as a person who regularly reads doctors' handwriting)

    By Blogger gonococcus, At March 01, 2007 3:43 pm  

  • The word verification is quite a chore, but unfortunately it is a necessity due to the amount of spam this blog has received; even with word verification activated, some still get through.

    By Blogger angry doc, At March 01, 2007 5:34 pm  

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