Clinics woo and soothe patients with luxury extras
FANCY getting chauffeured to your dentist for a checkup, or tucking into a gourmet breakfast at your doctor's clinic?
To cater to a more affluent clientele, some clinics have gone upmarket and started offering posh extras.
Over at T32 Dental Centre at Camden Medical Centre, customers wait in a stylish patients' lounge where they are served a variety of drinks, including wine and gourmet coffee.
In the treatment rooms, they watch movies on a personal movie screen or listen to music on an Apple iPod while getting their teeth done, as a warm blanket swaddles them on the dentist's chair.
Children can play games on a Wii console or watch cartoons while waiting for their turn.
Over at The Dental Studio at Paragon, customers are given movie goggles to watch their favourite movies during treatment, while lying on Tempur pillows.
The women-only health and wellness clinic Luxe Wellness Centre at the Mandarin Gallery provides complimentary Wi-Fi and spacious shower facilities.
Customers who fast overnight for their medical test can have a gourmet breakfast from Mandarin Orchard Hotel in the morning.
Thomson Dental Clinic at Novena Medical Hub provides a "hospitality corner" equipped with Internet stations for customers.
Such services, of course, come at a premium. A MyPaper check found that consultation fees at such clinics can cost up to $120, double that charged by a no-frills clinic in the same area.
This is hardly a deterrent for some patients as posh clinics have seen a robust growth in business, with a mix of locals and foreigners streaming in.
Since T32 started offering its extras as well as more specialists in 2007, the number of customers has doubled.
Similarly, The Dental Studio has recorded a 10 per cent growth annually since it opened in August 2007.
T32's director, Dr Bruce Lee, started offering these services because he wants to "change the traditional mindset that patients have of dental clinics being a place for painful procedures".
"That is why we try to make the patients as comfortable as possible," he said.
Customer Joanna Lim, 55, agrees. The housewife started going to T32 six months ago because "the ambience makes me feel very comfortable while waiting for my treatment".
Unlike other dentists, she said that getting her teeth fixed here "is a pleasant experience".