Hougang Polyclinic (NHG) is located in Hougang District, one of the many heartlands in Singapore.
Hougang Polyclinic Hot
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Warm & Friendly Service, With Customer-Centric Systems
Hougang Polyclinic is one of the many polyclinics under the National Healthcare Group. My recent visits to the Hougang Polyclinic have left a deep impression in me.
Firstly, the service by the staff was outstanding. From the nurses who were handling the registration to the pharmacists who passed the medication to me, every single staff that I have come in contact with was very friendly and helpful. Despite the heavy workload that they had, they were very patient when dealing with patients. The doctors also showed genuine care and concern when I told them about my illness, unlike some general practitioners that I had visited before.
Secondly, the systems and flows in place at the polyclinic caught me with surprise. Knowing that the waiting time was going to be long due to long patient queues, Hougang Polyclinic put in place a system whereby an “estimated time of consultation” was printed on the queue number slip that I got at the registration counter. With that estimated time of consultation, it gave me the flexibility and option to spend the time from the moment I got the queue slip, to the estimated time of consultation, in whatever way I liked. I used the time to have breakfast at the nearby McDonalds.
Although I still had to wait for another half an hour after the estimated time of consultation for the actual consultation (of course, it was just an estimated time), the wait could have been longer and more of a bore if that system was not in place.
All in all, the experience at Hougang Polyclinic was memorable.
Affordable medical care
Ah well. Polyclinics. The most frequented one for me will be Hougang Polyclinic as it is the nearest to my area of residence. I remember my secondary school days when I was simply throwing a silent tantrum and didn't want to report to school. So I would go the most affordable option available. The polyclinic.
A day like that would start off at 8 am, where I would turn up in my home clothes and register before being given a queue number. And so the wait begins.
It would normally take an hour or more before the next available consultation room beeps my number and I would drag my sorry self through the door and plonk myself onto the chair in front of the doctor and put on my most downcast face. "Food poisoning/cramps/sprained [insert body here]", I would say. The doctor would go through a general check before waving me out with medicine chit and the document I was really there for, the medical certificate to excuse my absence from school. The wait for my medicine to be dispensed would be another half an hour or so. It would usually be 2 hours later before I can walk out of the polyclinic.
I would only recommend polyclinics when one is really cash strapped or does not mind the waiting time for a light illness. Otherwise, your best bet would be the nearest GP.
Time for the memories of my younger days to catch up with me. Whenever I didn't feel like attending school, I would visit Hougang Polyclinic to get an MC in order to stay at home. It's like the worst-kept secret in Singapore - any student who didn't want to head to school can just pop by their neighbourhood polyclinic and 'buy' one.
Being a government clinic, prices are definitely lower than your typical private practitioner. However, with low prices, comes the crowds. You can expect to queue up for more than an hour before you can see the doctor, who are often cold and distant due to the sheer amount of patients they see a day.
If you are legitimately ill, I would rather you head off to a private clinic. For the rest, well, we'll just wait in line.
A polyclinic is a polyclinic, be prepared to wait
What else can I say? A polyclinic is a polyclinic in Singapore and that means cheaper healthcare that you make up the difference with your time.
The polyclinic at Hougang was given a facelift a few years ago but the difference is merely cosmetic. I was at the polyclinic a few times for my kids' vaccinations, my late dad-in-law's medical checkups and for me to get referrals to the hospital.
If you are having a fever, just go to a GP. It saves you plenty of time and heartache. Do not go to a polyclinic unless you really have to though IMHO, the best time to go there is one hour before closing time, things seem to move faster.