Primary healthcare system and practice characteristics in Singapore

Asia Pac Fam Med. 2014 Jul 19;13(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12930-014-0008-x. eCollection 2014.


It is crucial to adapt and improve the (primary) health care systems of countries to prepare for future patient profiles and their related needs. The main aim of this study was to acquire a comprehensive overview of the perceptions of primary care experts in Singapore about the state of primary care in Singapore, and to compare this with the state of primary care in other countries. Notwithstanding ranked 2(nd) in terms of efficiency of health care, Singapore is facing significant health care challenges. Emails were sent to 85 experts, where they were asked to rate Singapore's primary care system based on nine internationally adopted health system characteristics and six practice characteristics (response rate = 29%). The primary care system in Singapore received an average of 10.9 out of 30 possible points. Lowest ratings were given to: earnings of primary care physicians compared to specialists, requirement for 24 hr accessibility of primary care services, standard of family medicine in academic departments, reflection of community served by practices in patient lists, and the access to specialists without needing to be referred by primary care physicians. Singapore was categorized as a 'low' primary care country according to the experts.

Keywords: Practice characteristics; Primary care; Quality; Singapore; System characteristics.