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This Is Why Your Average S'porean Doctor Doesn't Pay $14.90/Mth For ST Premium

Posted on 1 Nov 2018

According to the Straits Times, when you pay $14.90 for ST Premium, you're paying for their “best content by experienced journalists".

Below are 4 choice ST Premium article titles which explain why your average friendly neighbourhood doctor probably isn't paying $14.90/mth to subscribe. 

(With thanks to SMA Hobbit for original coverage.)

1. “Making it harder for errant doctors to cheat” (The Straits Times, 25 October 2018) 

In her most recent article, ST's health correspondent suggests many doctors and dentists are guilty of cheating taxes.

If you scanned the article and headline, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there was a cheating epidemic going on amongst doctors in Singapore. 

However, the last time a doctor was jailed for tax evasion was all the way back in 2011.

1 case in 7 years, out of 15,000 doctors and dentists doesn’t sound quite like a cheating epidemic, does it?

2. Prescriptions to rein in healthcare costs (The Straits Times, 29 March, 2018) 

Did someone say flip opinion like prata?

On 12 April 2007, ST's health correspondent wrote an opinion piece titled “Scrapping an obsolete practice” and opined, “Without a fee guideline, doctors can be more open and competitive. As the world changes, so too must the medical profession. The days when no one questions their diagnoses or their charges are gone”. 

The fee guidelines for doctors was withdrawn in early April 2007.

On 29 March 2018, the same health correspondent now states that it was wrong to remove the fee guidelines as this has contributed to rising healthcare costs.

3.“Diagnosing the cause of rising costs” (Sunday Times, 6 March 2018)

In March this year, ST's health correspondent reported that “Drilling down, the MOH concluded that much of the higher claims was the result of overcharging and overtreatment by doctors in the private sector”.  

This was strongly refuted by both MOH and the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) as an inaccurate statement and false conclusion.

Source: SMA News

4. "Dispensing with dispensing doctors? Docs not swallowing the bitter pill" (The Straits Times, 9 January, 2005) 

This particular piece by ST's health correspondent was controversial enough to provoke a medical profession-wide clarification from the Director of Medical Services (DMS) when his vision wasn't communicated accurately.

“The article did not communicate my vision accurately and in the right context.” 

Why did he do this? Well, the article made an incorrect conclusion that drug dispensing rights were to be removed from medical clinics. 

It was also suggested in a follow-up Sunday Times piece that doctors were using ineffective drug dosages deliberately and for profit. 

In response, DMS released the minutes of the meeting between himself and ST's health correspondent.

The minutes had actually reported “On the separation of drug dispensing from the practitioner as in developing countries, DMS said that it would not happen anytime soon”. 

Source: SMA News 


A good doctor-patient relationship lies at the heart of good healthcare outcomes. This relationship is just like any other - it requires mutual trust and understanding. Souring the doctor-patient relationship does no one any good.

In the cover-note to his circulated minutes, DMS said “I will strive to mend any damage done to our trust so that we can work together to serve our patients better”.

We hope that the public will continue to trust that doctors will work in their best interests. 

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