More affordable outpatient care for those with chronic illnesses

SINGAPORE - The Government will make outpatient medical care more affordable to more Singaporeans with chronic illnesses, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Rally.

PM Lee admitted that the Government could do better with outpatient treatment, higlighting two groups of people who need more support.

One group needing long-term care is the elderly, who are bedridden or with Alzheimer's. 

Another group is patients with chronic ailments like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes.

PM Lee recognised that the lower income of these groups require regular checkups and long-term medication. However, they tend to skip appointments or halve their medication to save costs. He said that outpatient care needs to be more "affordable and accessible".

For low income patients who fall into these two categories, a scheme will be extended to them to ensure that they receive general practitioner treatment at polyclinic rates.

The qualifying age for the Primary Care Partnership Scheme (PCPS) will be lowered from 65 to 40 years.

Also, the income criteria will be revised to include more households.

Currently only 20 per cent of private clinics are part of the scheme. But MOH wants to encourage more clinics to join in.

The government will also increase subsidies for more expensive drugs to help those with chronic ailments.

The Ministry of Health will provide more details later.