Doctors do offer free consultations

SINGAPORE - MR M. Lukshumayeh writes that "while lawyers now render pro bono services to the needy, it would be good to see medical practitioners do the same", especially during the haze ("Doctors should offer pro bono services too"; last Monday).

But doctors have been offering free consultations of their own volition since time immemorial.

Many medical practitioners routinely offer consultations in their clinics and over the phone, both during and outside office hours, without a fee.

Few doctors are in the profession only for pecuniary gains.

As for doctors in private practice who cannot afford to be as charitable, the Government has sensibly offered to give a $30 subsidy per patient at designated clinics, if they have any respiratory or eye conditions due to the haze.

This makes it affordable and convenient for those stricken by the haze to get medical assistance.

The subsidy applies to those under 18 and above 65, those on financial aid, and any other person who declares a monthly income of below $1,500 - conditions which just about cover any needy Singaporean.

The worst of the haze is hopefully behind us.

Meanwhile, none who needs medical treatment for haze-related ailments is left behind, and we should be thankful for all that has been implemented so far to ameliorate the scourge.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

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