This is a strange thing to happen. The doctors, dental surgeons and other medical professionals were there waiting to treat you. We used to have only one general hospital and a few clinics to serve the population. The population was smaller and the number of medical professionals too was smaller, and private doctors and clinics were not many.
Those were the times when the medical fees were relatively cheap and the doctors were often found waiting for patients. But their lifestyle was much better, driving Mercedes and living in landed properties still.
Our population has grown and so have our medical facilities and medical professionals. The mentality of the people has also changed. Every little pimple appearing on their backside or a little black spot on the face and they would want to queue up to see a specialist. They would not bother to squeeze out the pimple or scratch away the black spot with a pen knife.
We have several big general hospitals and several big private hospitals today. And the number of practitioners has grown too. We probably have more specialists today than we have GPs in the 60s and 70s. When we made an appointment then it was a week or a few days ahead.
Today, an appointment with a dental surgeon or GP in public hospital or clinic, if one is paying subsidised rate, can be one year or several years down the road. 3 years wait is quite common. But if you tell them you are willing to pay, suddenly the queue is immediately shortened. How much shorter depends on how much one is willing to pay to jump the queue, especially in the private sector.
This is progress. We have more than 5m people and when everyone is willing to pay for good service, the one who has a bigger bank account will get the best service available. No one is or will be deprived of medical services. It may just take a little longer. The medical condition just needs to wait for its turn to be treated.
Could there be a message in a 1 year or 3 year appointment? The first is simply, pay if you can’t wait. Or maybe the condition is just not urgent enough. Or is it another way of telling the patient, ‘Hope you will be smart enough to go somewhere. Don’t come and waste my time.’ Or it could be another hope, that the patients may not survive the 3 years wait and the problem will take care of itself naturally.
We have progressed, and our way of solving pesky problems has also improved, very diplomatically. If one is unwilling to pay the ransom or market rate, one has to wait for the doctors. 3 years is reasonable, it is subsidised what do you expect? Today we have progressed from having lower quality services when doctors waited for patients, to world class services when patients have to wait for doctors.