The IT systems at nine polyclinics briefly experienced disruptions and slowness yesterday morning, causing some patients to be turned away from their scheduled appointments.
The affected polyclinics - Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Hougang, Jurong, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun - are managed by National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP).
There are 18 polyclinics in Singapore. The other nine, managed by SingHealth, did not have similar disruptions.
In response to media queries, NHGP director of clinical operations Ang Chee Chiang said the disruption lasted about an hour from 8.20am to 9.20am.
"Patients with urgent medical conditions were expedited for medical treatments," he added. "The polyclinics carried out manual registrations during the down-time period to help expedite the process.
The cause of the glitch is being investigated, he said.
When The Straits Times visited Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic at 12.15pm, the clinic's registration kiosks were functioning and patient flow was back to normal.
Christopher Chong, head of the clinic, said this was the first time such a disruption had occurred and that the clinic was "caught off-guard" as it had just opened at 8am.
He added that nurses were stationed at the front of the clinic to direct the more urgent cases - patients who were in pain, had difficulty with movement or expressed discomfort - to the doctors.
It is understood that who turned up for regular check-ups had their appointments rescheduled, while walk-in patients with illnesses such as flu and cough were informed of other clinics nearby they could visit.
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