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SNEC “Injustice”: Subsidised Patients Wait 1 Year for Checkup, Non-Subsidised Wait 3 Months

Is it fair that subsidised patients at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) need to wait 1 year for treatment, while those that don’t use the government subsidy only need to wait 3 months?

The issue was highlight following a letter from Edwin Goh to state media agency the Straits Times over the weekend.

Goh said that he was booking appointment for his elderly parents with the SNEC to get their eyes checked, after receiving polyclinic referrals.

He was shocked to hear that for a subsidised patient, the next available date was in September 2024.

However, for a non-subsidised patient, the earliest available date was in October this year.

Government subsidies are meant to help lower-income Singaporeans and PRs cope with healthcare costs.

Goh eventually chose to pay the full cost instead of receiving any government subsidy.

In the event that his parents need eye surgery, he will have to pay the full cost without any subsidy as those on the non-subsidised route cannot back to subsidised status.

Said Goh:

“As the waiting time for appointments for subsidised patients is way too long, I had no choice but to go for the non-subsidised route for my parents to get them an appointment as soon as possible.”

Such inflexibility has financial implications, as the cost of cataract surgery without the appropriate subsidy is much higher.

I urge the Government to relook the healthcare scheme and subsidies, especially for the elderly, who may not be able to wait long to seek appropriate medical care.”

Many Singaporeans have sympathised with Goh’s plight, calling the difference in waiting times an “injustice”.

Especially since the SNEC is a part of the public sector healthcare network.

Said a Mohd Fahmi:

“This is government hospital. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you should get better treatment.”

Joanne Sim said:

“In Singapore, It’s better for the poor to die than to fall sick.”

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