MOH Advises All Doctors To Stop Accepting Or Defer New Non-Resident Foreign Patients

From social distancing, to travel restrictions, to stockpiling supplies, Singapore has consistently been planning steps ahead to stay on top of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, recent developments show that the situation is slowly deteriorating. On 21 Mar, Singapore reported its first 2 Covid-19 deaths, as the total number of confirmed cases hits 385.

Singapore now has a death toll of 2
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With the government being obligated to prioritise the safety of its citizens, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is now forced to employ a tough but necessary measure.

Doctors to stop or defer accepting new foreign non-resident patients

According to an MOH-issued internal circular reported by The Straits Times, all doctors in public and private hospitals, as well as private specialist clinics are advised to immediately stop or defer accepting new foreign patients who do not live in Singapore.

They are also advised to persuade existing foreign patients to seek care in their home countries.

Singapore’s latest measures come after much consideration
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MOH explained in the circular that this was necessary to “conserve limited healthcare resources for Singapore to cater to managing Covid-19 cases as well as the existing needs of our local patients”.

All doctors are to comply to this latest directive until MOH advises them further.

Doctors who believe foreign patients require local care can apply for a waiver

Doctors who believe it is necessary for the foreign patient to remain in Singapore can apply for a waiver with MOH.

Only existing patients whose healthcare needs can’t be met in their home country can qualify for the waiver. Doctors must also acknowledge that any postponement of medical care will result in “serious adverse outcomes”.

Other foreign ASEAN patients who wish to have specialist care in Singapore must apply for the Asean Health Clearance (AHC).

ASEAN patients must apply for the AHC
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To be eligible, they must not have visited any non-Singapore hospital 14 days before the application. The AHC must be submitted by all short-term ASEAN nationals at least 14 days before their intended date of travel into Singapore, and should be approved by MOH beforehand.

Approved applications are subject to verification by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

In the event medical emergencies involving the evacuation of ASEAN passport holders, AHC requirements can be waived.

Stringent, but necessary

As much as we want to save every life, we also need to consider the limits of how much we can help, and help within our means.

MOH’s measures may seem harsh, but it is only enforced in the event of necessity.

Hopefully, this helps curb the Covid-19 situation so that such measures are only temporary.

Also read:

S’pore Reports First 2 Covid-19 Deaths, Both Were Above 60 & Had History Of Heart Disease

Featured image adapted from DoctorxDentist.