Non-Urgent Hospital Appointments Deferred As Healthcare Sector Redistributes Resources

The growing Covid-19 cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) is concerning, but a real issue on the ground is the lack of manpower.

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With patients still requiring care, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has instructed other hospitals to defer non-urgent appointments for the time being.

This comes as they deploy staff to TTSH to assist with patient care in light of the manpower crunch.

Healthcare sector conserving resources

As more TTSH staff test positive for Covid-19, the need to allocate manpower efficiently has arisen. MOH noted this in a press release on Monday (3 May).

Now that TTSH is gradually closing its doors to inpatient admissions, ambulance cases will be diverting to other hospitals instead.

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On top of receiving such cases, other hospitals are also sending their medical staff to assist TTSH with existing patient care.

Thus, to manage resources efficiently, MOH has advised hospitals to defer all non-urgent surgeries, admissions, and Special Outpatient Clinic (SOC) appointments for the time being.

Patients will be contacted to rearrange hospital appointments

Hospitals will be in touch with patients who are due for any of the above appointments soon, to make alternative arrangements.

Since physical appointments won’t be possible, consultations will likely go online.

Medication will also be delivered to your doorstep, so you won’t have to collect them at the hospital.

For TTSH SOC patients who need in-person care, staff who aren’t linked to the infection cluster will be attending to them.

More beds ready for potential rise in Covid-19 cases

Despite the manpower crunch, hospitals are reserving beds in case of an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

Patients who require medical attention will also still receive them, though they may expect delays.

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Considering the above situation, MOH hence urges the public to only visit the emergency department for urgent and life-threatening conditions.

Among them are:

  • Persistent chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Sudden weakness & numbness
  • Serious injuries
  • Multiple trauma

For non-emergency conditions, individuals should consult doctors at GP clinics or polyclinics first.

No one will be denied medical care

In spite of the current challenges, MOH emphasises that hospitals aren’t denying medical care to those who need it.

Rather, they have to prioritise cases to protect the safety of existing patients and staff in the hospital.

We commend the healthcare staff who are working hard in these difficult times.

Hopefully, the situation will improve soon so operations can return to normal.

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Featured image adapted from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) on Facebook.