If you weren’t sure what A&E means, it stands for Accident and Emergency.
Reader Bao: Uh… I think everyone knows that.
The high number of people visiting the A&E department for non-accidents and non-emergencies beg to differ.
More People At A&E Department Despite Not Needing Urgent Care
The Ministry of Health (MOH) stated that Singapore’s hospitals have been receiving a high number of patients at both adult and children A&E departments. This led to long queues and even longer waiting times.
There was an average of at least 650 patients a day, up from 450 a day in early January. That’s an additional 200 patients, which is a lot.
The worst part? Most of these patients didn’t even need urgent care, with about 80% of patients having only mild symptoms. They didn’t require hospitalisation and were discharged immediately after their visit.
As for the children who were admitted for COVID-19, most were discharged within two to three days. The risks of severe illnesses due to COVID-19 in children remains low, less than one out of 1,000 cases.
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This means that the poor 20% of people who actually needed emergency care had to wait even longer for their turn.
Visit General Practitioners or 24-Hour Clinics Instead
You should only visit the emergency department if you’re experiencing serious or life-threatening emergencies, like chest pain, breathlessness and uncontrollable bleeding.
Otherwise, you should be visiting general practitioners or a 24-hour clinic. You can also visit Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) if you need a COVID-19 test or if you’re experiencing symptoms of acute respiratory infection. Around 700 PHPCs are open after regular hours on selected days.
There are also six swab centres that support swabs for children aged below six. They include Raffles Children’s Centre at shopping mall Tampines 1, Thomson Paediatric Centre at Jem in Jurong East, and Raffles Juniors at Waterway Point in Punggol.
By visiting general practitioners instead, you are helping to preserve hospital space and attention for those who really need it. So don’t go rushing to the A&E for COVID-19 tests, please.
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For more information on clinics and operating hours, you can visit these websites: MOH, AIC or CHAS.
Alternatively, you can download the HealthHub mobile application, available for both Android and IOS.
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