To meet the rising demand for subsidised dental care by Singaporeans, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP) have been working to improve capacity ("Long wait for dental appointment" by Ms Priscilla Kumari; Oct 15).
For example, registered oral health therapists are now working alongside polyclinic dentists to perform basic dental services like scaling and polishing. We have also introduced measures to remind patients to keep to their appointments, or cancel/re-schedule them in advance - so that their appointment slots can be given to others who need it more - should they be unable to turn up for their sessions.
MOH has also enhanced the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas), which provides subsidised dental care at more than 290 participating private dental clinics islandwide. This will also shorten waiting times for Singaporeans seeking subsidised dental care. The list of subsidised dental treatments was also expanded to include more dental procedures, such as crowns, dentures and root canal treatments. Besides these procedures, Chas clinics can make referrals for subsidised care at specialist centres for the necessary treatments. With the removal of the Chas qualifying age from January next year, more Singaporeans will be able to receive subsidised dental care at these clinics.
Patients that require emergency dental care would be given priority at our polyclinics. We will continue to monitor and manage the waiting times for subsidised dental treatments closely.
NHGP has been in touch with Ms Priscilla to better understand her concerns.
Bey Mui Leng (Ms)
Director, Corporate Communications
Ministry of Health
Dr Kenneth Low
Director, Dental Division
National Healthcare Group Polyclinics
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.