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05 Nov 2019

4th Nov 2019

Ms Cheryl Chan Wei Ling
MP for Fengshan

Question No. 3254

To ask the Minister for Health (a) since 2010, what is the number of frail patients who have not showed up for follow-up treatment at specialist clinics after polyclinic referrals; (b) what are the reasons that these patients are not attending the follow-up treatment; (c) how can the Ministry or agencies assist in improving the situation; and (d) what are the longer term plans for geriatric care in the heartlands.

Written Answer

  1. About 12% to 20% of patients aged 65 and older do not show up for their SOC appointments despite alerts and reminders by the hospital or polyclinics.
  2. Based on surveys conducted by public hospitals, the main reasons for not attending SOC appointments include improvement in the patient’s medical condition, the patient having sought other treatments or treatments at other healthcare providers, the patient or caregiver not being well enough to attend, the patient had forgotten about or decided not to proceed with their appointments.
  3. Other than alerts and reminders to the patients or their nominated caregivers, MOH has put in place the Medical Escort and Transport scheme to accompany and assist frail patients from their homes for their medical appointments at SOC or polyclinic and back. At hospitals and polyclinics, staff are trained to identify and assist frail patients when they arrive for appointments, for example providing wheelchairs and wheelchair assistance if needed.In cases where a patient has multiple SOC appointments, hospitals may help consolidate his or her appointments to reduce the number of visits needed.
  4. As our goal is to enable seniors to age-in-place, we have also put in place measures to support frail seniors and their caregivers by enhancing the accessibility, quality and affordability of care options in the community. For example, the Silver Generation Office (SGO) reaches out to seniors through its volunteers, the Silver Generation Ambassadors (SGAs). When needed, SGAs connect seniors to health and social care services through the Community Network for Seniors (CNS). CNS then works various healthcare and community partners to coordinate care services for the seniors, including ensuring seniors receive medical follow-up in a timely manner.
  5. MOH will continue to expand care options in the community and work with the public hospitals, polyclinics and community providers to assist frail patients to access medical care.

Category: Parliamentary QA