Communicate govt policies better

Dr Noorul Fatha As'art (second from left), assistant director at the Ministry of Health's Non-Communicable Diseases Branch, speaking at a press conference on 6 August 2013 to mark the end of the national conversation and the launch of its newsletter, Reflections. She is seen here with Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) committee chairman Heng Swee Keat (centre) and other OSC members Stanley Chia (left), Ms Kuo Jian Hong and Assistant Professor Mahdev Mohan (right). The press conference was held at The National Library.

Our Singapore Conversation committee chairman Heng Swee Keat has said the national dialogue often revealed the gaps between what the Government thinks it is doing and what people perceive it to be doing ("Heng Swee Keat on..."; last Thursday).

The Government must be credited for the many good initiatives we often take for granted in our daily lives.

But there should be better communication of government policies to close the gaps that Mr Heng spoke of.

He mentioned how some national conversation participants had not heard of the Community Health Assist Scheme, which gives middle-and low-income Singaporeans subsidised treatment from private general practitioners and dentists.

There must be wider publicity about such schemes at the grassroots level and in schools.

Besides this scheme, many others are unaware of the benefits that can be derived from the 3Ms - Medisave, Medifund and MediShield. Even doctors are unable to explain these to their patients.

Many Singaporeans also do not know they can buy medicine from polyclinic pharmacies at much lower prices compared to those at retail pharmacies.

It is a pity these good initiatives have not been effectively communicated down the line, resulting in complaints of an uncaring government.Anthony Goh Tee Kow

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