Addendum (19.1.13- same day)
Another non-emergency source of A & E attendance are the patients who go there to get referral to specialist clinics at the public hospitals. Referrals to specialist clinics from A & E and polyclinics are considered subsidised and enjoy discounts whereas patients referred by GP's are automatically considered as non-subsidised and pay ( often substantial) full rates even if the patients are obviously poor. Those who are referred by GP's , and who then try to appeal to be downgraded to subsidised rates have to go through a sometimes demeaning process where they are interviewed by Medical Social Workers who pry into household incomes etc to see if there are any rich members in the family etc and hence do not deserve subsidies ie the Means test. This is the subject of another letter to the press...
Below is my original letter.
Other measures that MOH/MOM can consider include not allowing companies to only recognize MC's from A & E and not those from GP’s as the latter are bona fide SMC-qualified doctors.