I lost my younger sister three weeks ago to depression, three days after I took her to the polyclinic to get a referral for medical attention from a specialist at the restructured hospitals.

She could not wait three months for her appointment with a psychiatrist at the Singapore General Hospital, or even three weeks for an alternative appointment to see a specialist at a clinic conducted at Outram Polyclinic.

Photo from SGH
Photo from SGH

There have been other complaints in letters to the press and on social media about the wait of up to three months or more to see the specialists at the hospitals.

Singapore has prided itself as being rated among the top few in the world for its healthcare system in terms of efficiency. But is it really up to the mark?

Patients seeking referral from the polyclinics should be given top priority, especially patients suffering from depression, to be assessed by specialists as soon as possible instead of being put in the normal three-month queue.

I hope my sister’s death will not be in vain. I know she would have liked to make a difference, and I hope her death will be able to help others who might go through the suffering she did.

Linda Cheng

This letter first appeared on Todayonline on Sep 11.