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NUH ties up with clinic chain on programme for diabetes

Source: Yahoo! News
Date: 22 July 2011

NUH ties up with clinic chain on programme for diabetics
By Faris Mokhtar | SingaporeScene – Fri, Jul 22, 2011

Under a new programme, NUH doctors will refer diabetic patients to Frontier clinics, saving patients travel time …

Diabetic patients at the National University Hospital (NUH) can now consult doctors at designated clinics instead of travelling all the way to the hospital for consultations.

The hospital and Frontier Healthcare Group signed a two-year pilot agreement on Friday that allows the patients to pay the same charges for their consultations, screening tests and medications at five of its family-practice clinics managed by the group as they would at NUH.

Under this initiative, NUH doctors can refer diabetic patients whose conditions are stable to any of the Frontier clinics located in Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok, Jurong West, Woodlands and Ubi.

However, if their condition is not considered stable, they will continue to receive consultations at the hospital and not be referred under the programme.

NUH chief executive officer Joe Sim hailed the partnership as a "win-win situation" for all parties.

"This pilot marks a step towards bringing together the expertise from both the private and public healthcare sectors to offer affordable, quality care to Singaporeans."

Saying that this will also benefit patients in terms of cost and time savings while receiving the same level of care, he added that it will also shorten waiting-time for patients at the hospital.

NUH says that it currently receives as estimated 15,000 diabetic patients. Between 2009 and last year, it saw a 5 percent increase in the number of diabetic patients.

"At the same time, we are able to see more new patients at the hospital in a shorter time. We hope to make this a sustainable model for other shared care programmes," said Sim.

Dr Tham Tat Yean, who heads the Frontier Group, said its clinics have participated in national chronic disease management programmes and collaborated with hospitals in the region.

"Private family physicians are in a unique position to play a more active role in holistic chronic disease management because of their broad-based medical training, proximity and easy accessibility to patients in the community," he said.

According to the National Health Survey last year, the chronic condition affects approximately 11.3 percent of Singaporeans aged between 18 and 69.

At the end of the two-year programme, a study will then be conducted to assess the clinical outcomes, as well as patient and GP satisfaction levels.

If proven to be successful, NUH said it plans to apply this model to cater to other diseases such as asthma, heart and psychological medicine.

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