Expats living in Singapore, in case you’re tight on the budget and you need some medical/health attention, you can visit the free public clinics available. Hundreds of patients line up in these clinics for free or subsidized consultation, even the rich and those who come in luxury cars.
To date, the number of free clinics in Singapore is at 30, most of which, offer traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and free consultations, but may require a small payment for the medicines and some treatments like acupuncture.
Health for all: Public Free Clinics draw hundreds of patients every day
Patients start lining up by as early as 6:30 in the morning, waiting for almost two hours prior the opening time to fill up the morning slots in these clinics.
According to Mr Seow Ser Fatt, the Public Free Clinic Society’s president, the growing number of patients availing of free consultations in their clinics can be partly attributed to the rising number of the elderly living in Singapore. Treatments offered address a wide range of ailments from common fever and colds to chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
Due to the growing demand and cost of healthcare in Singapore, the Public Free Clinic Society has already branched out to five free clinics, the latest one in Bedok North Street 2 opened last November 5.
All five free clinics have accommodated around 650 patients on a daily basis, up from 600 last year, with over 70 per cent of these patients being 51 years old and above.
Aside from the minimal fee they charge for medicines and some treatments, these free clinics are mainly financed by cash donations from supporters and fund-raising initiatives. There are also contribution boxes available for patients who want to donate to keep these clinics running.
While majority of the patients come from the lower- and middle-income sectors, there are also those who come from the upper-class society. According to Mr Seow, their clinics do not prohibit the rich from availing their services as most of them personally seek their doctors, but they hope these people could extend support through their donations.
Mr Seow also shares that it’s not uncommon to see patients arriving in luxury cars, and most of them, too, would donate after seeing their doctors.