from Serene Luo, a journalist.
She wrote to me: "I was recently very sick at the end of June, and had to go to a 24-hour clinic on a Saturday night at 2am. I took a pill at 1+ in the morning, because I felt horrible, and I guess it must have taken effect sometime before 3am.
"When I arrived at 2.20am at a 24-hour clinic in Hougang Block 681 (the Central Clinic and Surgery), the doctor wasn't in. The clinic assistant said he had stepped out 10 minutes ago for supper, and she would call him.
"Two calls later, he was still nowhere to be seen and she apologised profusely.
"At 3am, the doctor burst through the clinic's front door, and said rather brusquely and loudly: "Why, the patient collapsed, is it? You had to call twice?"
"I was sitting just inside the door, and though feverish and nauseous, felt disgusted at his rudeness and lack of empathy for a sick patient.
If I wasn't sick enough, would I really have dashed to the clinic at 2 in the morning?
"In the doctor's office, his questioning made me feel as if he was just keen to quickly process me and get me out of his office. By this time, after 3am, the pain pills I had taken had obviously taken effect and I was much more lucid and feeling better than I was when I first arrived.
"His eagerness and impatience was further confirmed when he buzzed the electronic number for the next patient, an elderly man who was using a walking stick and had a swollen leg.
"The electronic sign kept on buzzing, buzz, buzz, buzz -- at the rate of one buzz every two seconds -- as the man limped slowly to the doctor's room.
"Sick people feel terrible enough already, and they must be really feeling terrible if they need to go see a doctor in the wee hours of the morning. It does not help when a doctor's bedside manner makes them feel like they are inconveniencing the doctor."
Central Clinic & Surgery Group's clinics are located in major housing districts. On its website, it declares:
"Our dedicated doctors are always at hand, to give you the best healthcare service you require."Serene certainly does not agree!!!
ANNE HOLLOWAY wrote: "Central has 4 clinics in Singapore, so either demand is inelastic or not all their doctors are as ill-mannered as this one.
In any event their CEO should hear about this.
A friend once remarked that some Singaporeans need to have their brains re-wired. I tend to agree when it comes to poor service attitudes.
The problem stems from denial and a pro-active defence, both of which we learnt from our government! When a problem is not acknowledged, it simply doesn't exist and pursuing the matter could rebound on us.
So many people just stick their heads in the sand, like ostriches."
SHIONGE wrote: "I'm sure many people do have their fair share of encounters with doctors like this. I've seen and experienced enough and I know a good doctor when I 'FEEL' one because they exude sincerity and care.
"That is why for the past 20 years, my family still consult the same family doctors (husband & wife) in Choa Chu Kang - Edingburg Clinic.
I know I might not sound fair but I've walked into one of these 24-hour clinics and in my opinion, doctors on duty at that hour do show their 'true colours' and I tell myself, I will never ever going to walk into a 24-hr clinic. I'll 'cheong' to A&E if have to instead."