Movements to be restricted


  • Singapore
  • Thursday, 13 Feb 2020

SINGAPORE: Doctors in the public sector will have to restrict their work to within one hospital, while patients and healthcare staff should also limit their movements across different healthcare premises.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) sent this directive to public hospitals in a bid to reduce the risk of cross-institutional transmission of Covid-19 (novel coronavirus).

It took effect from Monday and applies to all public hospital staff, including administrative and ancillary staff.

An MOH spokesperson said that while public hospitals remain committed to offering essential services such as treatment of coronavirus cases, non-urgent treatments and appointments are being progressively deferred where clinically appropriate, to allow hospitals to focus on essential services.

This means patients who see doctors at different hospitals for various ailments will have to decide which institution they want to stick with.“We will be working closely with the healthcare institutions to explore various means for this to be carried out effectively without impacting patient care and safety,” said the ministry.

Healthcare professionals in the private hospitals and specialist clinics have also been advised to similarly avoid cross-institutional movement, said the ministry.

However, it is not mandatory for them at this point.

Parkway Pantai, Mount Alvernia Hospital and Thomson Medical said they will be following the MOH guidelines closely, their spokesmen said.

A Thomson Medical spokesman said: “Should the restriction be implemented, we anticipate some impact to maternity patients, who will have to decide if they wish to follow their gynaecologist or the hospital of their choice to see to their maternity needs.”

At Parkway Pantai, which is the biggest private chain with four hospitals, doctors in its employ will be restricted to one facility, similar to those in government hospitals, says Dr Noel Yeo, chief executive officer of Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

These are usually accident and emergency staff doctors or radiologists.

But specialist doctors can choose up to two Parkway Pantai hospitals at which to treat their patients.

In a circular sent to the doctors, they were told they have up to noon tomorrow to declare their primary and secondary sites of practice.

The restriction will take effect from next Monday. — The Straits Times/ANN

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