CEO of National University Hospital, Eugene Liu, has explained that the difference in the S$19,000 option offered by the hospital for an eye surgery compared to the S$9000 option offered by the Singapore National Eye Centre to a patient is a matter of professional opinion.
This comes in response to a letter penned by a doctor, Wong Kai Peng, who sought treatment at NUH, only to find that the fees for a glaucoma operation were two times higher than the price quoted by the SNEC.
Dr Wong said:
“Why are the surgical fees that high, given that the operation was not complicated and would take only 40 minutes? Perhaps it is due to the expensive implants?
Why is there such a huge disparity in prices between NUH and SNEC? I understand they use different implants. Still one can’t help but suspect profiteering.”
Dr Liu explained that the estimates “were based on a complex procedure performed under general anaesthesia by a senior consultant that included both a laser procedure for cataract extraction with implant and glaucoma surgery with another implant.”
“We understand that SNEC had recommended a different treatment option, without a laser procedure and with a different glaucoma implant. This resulted in lower charges than NUH’s estimate.
While professional opinions in what constitutes the most appropriate treatment for an individual patient may sometimes vary, the surgeon should have informed the patient about other treatment options, as well as the associated costs.”
Dr Liu has apologised for the incident and stated that the NUH surgeon has been counselled.