I am the mother of a polyclinic doctor and would like to give a different perspective to Ms Evelyn Ong Foo Chou's letter ("So hard to consult a polyclinic doc"; Tuesday).
After waiting for hours, some patients are likely to be frustrated and angry when they enter the doctor's consultation room. They want to get a consultation worth their wait.
But how do you expect the doctor to give them more "eye-contact time" when he has to document the patient's medical history, conduct the medical examination, reach a diagnosis and write the prescription - all within a matter of minutes - given that he has to fulfil a minimum quota of 60 patients a day?
Some patients express their frustration through anti-social behaviour, such as stealing the doctor's mobile phone, using abusive language when they do not get the prescription or medical certificate they want, or crushing the queue slip and throwing it at the doctor.
Many polyclinic doctors do not even have time for a proper lunch and often eat junk food from the vending machine.
Which doctor would want to work in a polyclinic when locum jobs in the private sector pay three times more, with one-third the patient load?
If there were no bond in place for Singapore's medical graduates, more than half of them would have already left the service.
Letter from Chew Ghim Lian (Ms)
This article was published on April 10 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.