More reach with renamed GP subsidy scheme

PHOTO: More reach with renamed GP subsidy scheme

SINGAPORE - Not sure what the Primary Care Partnership Scheme (PCPS) means? You're not alone.

After receiving public feedback that the scheme's name was puzzling, the Ministry of Health (MOH) decided to rename it to better reflect its aim of subsidising visits to general practitioners (GPs).

It will now be called the Community Health Assist Scheme, and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong hopes the new name would encourage more people to join the scheme.

At a free health screening at Chua Chu Kang Community Club yesterday, Mr Gan said residents and Members of Parliament had asked him to rename the scheme as the original name was too cryptic.

"PCPS describes partnership between the Government and GPs but, to the residents, that's not very meaningful," he said.

Madam Hasnah Masnod, 53, a volunteer qigong instructor, said: "With the words 'health' and 'assist' in the name, the scheme is now easier to understand."

The Choa Chu Kang resident picked up a form at yesterday's event and plans to apply for the scheme with her husband, a 56-year-old bus driver.

"The subsidies will be useful as I usually visit the GP," she said. "The polyclinic is nearby but the queue is just too long."

She was delighted that the age limit for the scheme was lowered, making her eligible for the expanded scheme, which took effect yesterday.

She lives in a four-room Housing Board flat with her husband and three sons aged 17, 23 and 28. Their per capita monthly household income is about $600.

MOH announced last August that the scheme will be made available to Singaporeans aged 40 and above - down from 65 and above - and whose per capita monthly household income is not more than $1,500, up from the previous $800.

The expanded scheme started accepting applications last month. There had been 5,300 applicants, of whom 4,900 were successful. More than 38,000 Singaporeans are on the scheme, in which 450 GP clinics and 210 dental clinics participate.

"As we address the challenges of an ageing population, it is important for us to continue to innovate and find new ways to deliver our health-care services in a more cost-effective way," said Mr Gan.

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