Friday, July 07, 2006


I was quite confuzzled by an editorial in today's Straits Times "S'pore health system 80% fine but fix the 20%" by Ms Chua Mui Hoong. In it, she highlights what is right about the local healthcare system but emphasises that we should not ignore what needs improvement. She gives as examples of the latter, cases in which miscommunication between patients & healthcare providers resulted in death of the patients.

She says:
"A punitive culture where everyone fears making decisions in case a mistake is made is paralysing and counter-productive."

A promising attitude, I thought.

Then she proceeds to say in following paragraphs:
"The system must be exacting enough, and the auditors or senior doctors stern enough, for those down the line to fear the consquences of making a mistake sufficiently to keep them on their toes."

A bit of a contradiction, eh what? Isn't she advocating a punitive culture here?

I wonder what message she is trying to bring across in this article.


Dr Oz bloke said...

The journalists have all been given a guide on how to write. Which is why we will see more and more self-contradictions because that is what they are told to do. You cannot have a position or opinion. You just write a piece which presents both sides of the coin and that's it!

Mr Wang nicely summed it up:
1. Journalists shall not blame the government for any unhappy things. (The government is never to blame for any unhappy things).

2. If you mention problems, you MUST offer solutions. (Otherwise just pretend the problem doesn't exist.)

3. YOUR opinions shall not be published unless they meet OUR standards. (And we're not humorous).

4. You cannot champion issues. (Next time, check with us before you expose any cheating scams like the NKF.)

5. You cannot campaign for or against the Government. (Just be a nation-building press exactly the way we like it.)

6. Constructive critics would not undermine the Government's standing with the electorate. (Nothing that makes us look bad could possibly be constructive.)

aliendoc said...

Hmm. I guess I shouldn't be surprised...

igakunogakusei said...

Huh? So what was her conclusion?

And if all of what Mr Wang describes is true, then we might as well read propaganda flyers instead of the ST. Unless of course, we wanted to know about whose dog died, in addition.

Dr Oz bloke said...

Which is why I don't bother to pay for the ST nor do I read it very much.

aliendoc said...

Iggy: I still don't know what her message is. And I have yet to see any response from the bigwigs either. And no one from the medical community seems to have written in to comment on her article. Not yet, anyway...

Dr Oz bloke said...

How to comment?

Have to basically write a thesis on how to fix the health care system in Singapore before you are allowed to comment.