Monday, April 4, 2016

Private and Public hospitalization care

I have the unfortunate experince of sending both my parents and myself to hospital. My dad went to a government restructured hospital and my mum went Mount Alvernia. I, myself and sister also admitted to hospital (mount Alvernia) 

Within a short span of 4 months, I been to hospitals 4 times. Excluding post admission treatment or follow up. I think it's timely, with the Rush of IP plans people consider carefully what plan to get for themselves. 

No brainer. Cost is 5-6 times higher in private care. An sterilized bandage (cannot remembered the actual name) cost 20 over bucks in mount Alvernia but cost less than $4 in TTSH.

A PET scan cost $2700 under private arrangement. My dad did 2 x-rays, 2 MRI scan, hospitalized for 4 days and the total bill is around 2K. 

My mum's surgery itself, excluding the prior scan and consultation is about 16K

No brainer too. TTSH is flooded. When my dad fall, the holding area is packed like sardines. Cross infection is not a stretch if u ask me. He was there for hours. 

The food is really horrible. Plain and quantity insufficient. My dad complained about cold. 

Attentiveness of nurses surprising are about the same. Think given the no. Of patients in govt hospital, the wait time for attention is really good, although of course you still cannot compare it with private care. 

Choice of Doctor 
I still think private is more systemic. During my dad stay, I remembered different doctors asking the same questions and when I said the questions were asked by the previous Doctor, the doctor was visually displeased. 

They could not pinpoint the cause of my father's fall and numbness, after PET scan and x-Ray and asking tons of questions by 2 doctors. They suspected stroke, but was verified by doctors as not the case. Only after a chat with my dad that I told a third Doctor that my dad complained about backache, maybe you guys should look into that. 

He was brought to do further tests and was verified by doctors that he had spinal compression. 

To the doctors' credit, after 2 more days, they said the numbness is not due to compression but the nerve at the spinal cord. 

But the communication part is really horrible. They doctors told my dad he needed surgery. My dad was upset and I wondered why they never communicate with me. I call back and the doctor told me they are still studying the case and have not decide anything. (Then what the fuck did they have to tell my dad that, my dad was very worried and keep harping that he wanted no surgery.) 

Beside having multiple doctors, the quality of care do not seem to be really worse. 

My mum is getting weaker and weaker, and my sis sent her to the same Doctor again. I asked about the opening hours and wondered aloud what I should do when during dinner, my mum's conditions take a turn for the worse. My sister told me rush to A&E and ask for Dr Goh. Didn't know A and E can ask for Doctor too

The appointments come fast and furious after the admission. There is one appointment that has the test after the consultation. It had to be reshuffle.

There is also case whereby appointment was made but when we went, the nurses said there no appointment.

From what I wrote, it is obvious I am biased towards private care if one can afford it. 

But when my sister keep complaining about the care my dad received, I told her there is a place for everything. 

I not selling anything. Just make sure you know what you are getting. 


  1. So money is correlated with more happiness/less unhappiness on health and medical care?

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  2. Its not about happiness, its what you want.

    When you get IP plan, per charge or the lowest tier, the difference in premium, if you think it is value for money, go ahead.

    Dun later then cow pei cow bu...

  3. Sillyinvestor,

    Fair comment. "Know what you are getting".

    Who will buy HDB when they can afford condo?

    Who will buy condo when they can afford landed properties?

    Evidently, quite a lot (1/4 or 1/3?) of those who bought IPs found out they couldn't afford private or class A wards after all...

    Which is strange and sad...

  4. Smol,

    As I said, affordable care has its place, and I think the govt did a good job.

    Seriously, looking at the blogger sphere, I think I am the "poorest" in terms of assets? But how many wanted to opt for the lowest plan? Strange the couldn't afford ones want the best, the can afford Giam Gana

  5. i myself have experience with 2 government hospital c ward in recent weeks. one thing is the pace of diagnosis is very slow, its likeover the weekend no work is done. we were left anxious what could be the issue.

    The hospital beds was not cramp, but it is difficult to sleep. you are right. TTSH have really terrible meals.

    at NUH, it is less computerize. i didn't even see the doctor. the personal touch i felt is very lacking. they even want to take a sample test for "further studies"!

    I haven't seen the bill yet.

    1. Kyith, I hardly think it will be a shock ...the bill should' be ok

    2. I look at the doctors, I do think they are rather overwhelm at public hospital.

      My dad already got the senior specialist, so the curative care perhaps is not too far off.

    3. i have experience both in TTSH and KTPH.
      well, i didn't take any meal in TTSH, as i was too sick during my hospital, mostly in drip.
      as for khpt, the foods is not bad.

  6. We don't hear people cow pa cow bu on budget flight as they don't have high expectation but when come to medical treatment in government hospital at budget fare they somehow has higher expectation like better food. May be we should suggest to government to include option for paid meal menu and etc like budget airline.

    1. CW,

      There are some Singaporeans who do KPKB about "service" on budget flights!

      What service?


      They are either "mountain turtles" or those "who want cheap, who want big, who want big big-ding-a-ling-ding-ding"!

    2. I used to think I can tahan govt hospital too. Seriously, I think I can still now.

      But I am acutely aware of the following:
      1) disease is getting younger, I hardly think I will live a ripe old age. If I do and my premium is "draining", think j will be very happy too.

      2) when u are sick and low... The more u crave "comfort" I speak for myself.

      3) spare the love ones the guilt ...

  7. Hi SI,

    Thanks for sharing. Given a choice I will also prefer that my parents choose a private hospital but the premiums gets expensive with each age band. You mentioned about the choice of doctors which is one of my top considerations.

    My parents are currently covered up to a private hospital. I'm asking my agent to check if I were to downgrade to one level lower (gvt A ward), can I have the luxury of choosing my own doctor and going in as a non-subsidized patient so that I can skip the waiting time. My intent is to have private treatment in a government hospital.

    1. Hi Derek,

      See... We are not an island ... Kids wanted options too. Especially for their parents ...

      I bought mine. I can afford it ... The thousands at later age of life, I will pay...

  8. Good sharing! I hope that you will continue to contribute such article as it helps me to decide what sort of hospital plan I should get.

  9. Beware, as the population gets greyer, the premiums will go higher since less of the young contributing too. Premiums will go up and up till everyone kow bei kow bu for gahmen to step in again. Gahmen will say whole world like dat lor, shrinking working population but more elderly, what do u expect? Fertility rate low but that is a problem that will haunt us approx 15 to 20 years down the road.

    1. This is true. But it applied to everything isn't it? Taxes? Productivity etc ... State of economy etc...

      I take a step at a time

  10. I think govt is doing their best to make the medical care affordable but inevitably you get sub optimal care. Or boh sim.

    For the amount we are paying relative to us uk, our medical care is not bad but doesn't mean you should study and find out what should be done.

    A lot of public hospitals are stocked with young in their careers doctors. Remember when you are young and eager to prove yourself?

    All that said, I look down on most typical hospital doctors in Singapore (no overseas experience yet). Boh sim and only concerned for their own careers.

    1. *shouldn't study and find out more about the condition and the variable statistical risks of treatment. Even doctors won't be as concerned about your condition as yourself.

    2. Care is good. If we think of anyone dying due to no accessibility to health care ... Singapore is heaven.

      If we just want not dying ... And cured at the end. It's simple. I dun over estimate myself thou

  11. TTSH is really horrible. My father was left along cold and dark corridor for 6 hours overnight before his operation in the morning after his fall. He is 85 years old. He told me he was feeling so cold with just a thin blanket covering him. So dark, so hungry and wondering if he was going to survive, etc. There was zero patient care or assurance given to him.
    But yet our gahment keep trying to push ppl into gahment hospital through Medishield Life without thinking how about the suffering and emotional turmoil that one has to endure, on top of the illness and pain. But if you got no money like the MIW and the rich, the bo pian lor. MIW wan swee.

    1. Henry,

      What Is MiW?

      While we understand the lack of resources and the need to keep health care affordable, but when we / family went through it ... Even if I am sanguine, they will be people &)47:'

      My mum has no insurance ...we still push ... And u want to save on the premium ?

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