$2 health screening for Whampoa's elderly residents

PHOTO: $2 health screening for Whampoa's elderly residents

SINGAPORE - Whampoa residents are the first to benefit from a new community screening programme that aims to screen more elderly residents for chronic diseases and cancers.

Launched by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) on Saturday morning at a community event, the one-stop programme offered screening for key chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and selected cancers at subsidised rates.

A screening for diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and lipid disorders can be had for $2, compared to $30 commercially.

The programme will eventually be rolled out to other areas in Singapore.

The subsidised rates were brought about by HPB's collaboration with the public and private sectors to encourage more residents to take up screening. Its chief executive, Mr Ang Hak Seng, explained that they found out that "cost" and "convenience" were some of the "key barriers" to going for screenings and follow-ups.

To ensure that patients receive follow-up treatment and care, HPB has put in place a new General Practitioner (GP) Network.

Health ambassadors will help residents who registere for the screening to nominate a physician that is either his family GP, or a GP listed in the network. If the resident is unsure, he will be assigned to a GP from the network, located closest to his home.

The nominated GPs will be informed of residents with abnormal screening results so that they can call the patient for a follow-up consultation.

To encourage senior citizens to go for follow-up consultations, lower income patients who qualify under the Primary Care Partnership Scheme (PCPS) will also benefit from primary care subsidy when they visit the GPs in the network. Currently nine GPs in Whampoa have signed up to be a part of the network.

In addition, GPs will be aided by a pilot software, Physical Activity Advice Tool (PAAT) that helps them recommend exercises for their patients according to their ages and conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Regular physical activity plays a direct role in not just reducing the incidence of many chronic conditions, but it also helps those with existing chronic conditions to manage them better, HPB said.

Senior Minister of State and MP for Whampoa, Mr Heng Chee How, was the guest-of-honour at the launch.