Saturday, January 10, 2015

Quality of healthcare comprised because of the unresolved bed crunch problems? An open letter to President Tony Tan and the Singapore Government

Two weeks ago, I suffered a severe bout of flu and the General Practitioner (GP) whom I saw suspected at first that I could be having dengue fever. Two types of antibiotics were prescribed and the GP advised me to visit the polyclinic to do a blood test if the fever does not go down.

The blood test carried out on Thursday at the Polyclinic revealed that I was having viral fever and the doctors are monitoring my condition. Three doctors at the polyclinic, including a psychologist whom I am seeing for insomnia and a senior doctor who has knowledge of mental health care felt that for my own safety and self-care, I should be admitted to hospital as they are aware that I live all alone following my wife’s death in April last year. Given that I am feeling very weak and have giddy spells, I felt that this was a good idea.

However, the polyclinic doctors who displayed enormous compassion for me told me that there is no guarantee that the hospital will admit me due to the shortage of beds.  After they arranged with their staff to buy me breakfast and my lunch, I was brought to the taxi stand and I went home. 

In the meantime, I am searching high and low for supporting measures such as my meals and treatment for the severe aches in my whole body.  I have also approached two churches for assistance, but no one can offer any sort of help.  I have been going from pillar to post trying to get some support and it wearing me thin, more so when I am already exhausted from the effects of the viral fever.  What makes me feel even more demoralized is that I have been volunteering my time on mental health public education at IMH and other VWOs for years, and yet when I need support I can’t get it.  Have we become such an uncaring g society that we do not know how to feel for another human being?

After my wife of 40 years died, everything - including support measures  has died with her.
Why is it that there is no compassion for an elderly citizen who is ill, still trying to cope with grief and needs professional care.  All because the hospitals are facing a bed crunch.  It is an irony that while the polyclinic doctors have displayed understanding and compassion, the systems are so bad that it  does not want to support those who are in dire need of help and medical care.  The quality of medical care should never be compromised just because MOH cannot resolve the bed crunch problems which have been a nagging issue for years.

I am very sure that there are many others in my predicament who has, or who are going through such ‘difficulties’.  The difference is that they do not voice out these issues because they do not have the means to do so.


Raymond Anthony Fernando


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