| RECENTLY, I visited the National Dental Centre for a jaw ailment. The consultation fee plus X-ray cost about $200 as I was charged under the private rate. A few days later, when I asked for a medical report from the centre, I was told it would cost another $87. They claimed it was the standard practice of government and restructured hospitals to charge for medical reports.
I fail to see how their charging for medical reports will better serve patients. Another point of contention is that all private patients have to sign a consent form to state that they agree to be charged private patient rates indefinitely even if they are referred by polyclinics in the future. I find this practice unfair to those who cannot afford the charges in their later years.
David KwokFee for medical report reflects some of the costs
MR DAVID Kwok asked about the fee charged for medical reports and the amendments to the paying status of private patients (“Why charge for medical reports?”; last Saturday). Our staff review a patient’s management at the centre before preparing a formal report. The fee for these reports reflects some of our costs. We are mindful of keeping overall operating costs down and thus levy charges on such optional administrative services only for the small proportion of patients who request for them.
The financial counselling consent form Mr Kwok refers to in his letter is a tool to help us communicate charges associated with the patient’s paying status. It does not exclude a patient from requesting a reclassification of paying status when his financial circumstances change. Financial assistance is available to all our patients if they need it.
The National Dental Centre provides timely dental care to all who seek our services, regardless of their financial situation.
Dr Kwa Chong Teck
National Dental Centre of Singapore