Polyclinic consultation fees up, but will stay 'affordable'
A VISIT to the neighbourhood polyclinic now costs more as operators have raised consultation fees, with one doing so as recently as this month.
Singaporean adults pay between $11.80 and $11.90 for a basic consultation, while children and non-pioneer generation seniors are charged between $6.50 and $6.80.
This is on top of what they would be charged for medication, laboratory tests and so on.
Neither SingHealth nor the National Healthcare Group (NHG) - which together run all of Singapore's 18 polyclinics - were willing to disclose exactly how much fees have increased.
However, The Straits Times obtained data showing that a basic consultation for adult Singaporeans cost between $11 and $11.30 in October last year. Children and seniors paid between $6.10 and $6.40.
This means an increase of 60 cents to 80 cents per visit for adults, and a jump of up to 40 cents for seniors and children.
The fee hike for permanent residents and foreigners is steeper, with both groups paying up to $1.60 and $2.90 more respectively.
NHG said that it raised fees in April, with SingHealth following suit this month.
When The Straits Times visited one polyclinic from either group, there were no signs indicating that consultation fees had gone up.
Both polyclinic operators said that the higher fees were a reflection of increased operating costs.
"We revised our fees to manage rising operating costs such as utilities, infrastructure, equipment upgrades and inflation," said David Kok, director of finance at NHG Polyclinics.
However, SingHealth and NHG Polyclinics also assured patients that the prices would remain affordable and that no one would be turned away if he could not pay the bill.
"We are committed to ensuring that the total bill continues to be affordable for our patients," said SingHealth Polyclinics' chief operating officer, Luna Lee.
"Our fees remain heavily subsidised for Singapore citizens, especially the elderly."