MOH allegedly sidesteps question on whether government hospitals make profits from blood donated by the public

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A netizen has accused the Ministry of Health of side-stepping his question on whether government hospitals make profits from the blood donated by members of the public.

Taking to social media, Facebook user Simon Lim, shared that he had been a regular blood donor in his youth and that he greatly admires blood donors since he feels blood donations are “selfless and noble” acts.

Lim understands that there are costs involved in making donated blood available to patients and that these costs are transferred to the patient receiving the blood. He wondered, however, whether government hospitals also make profits from selling blood donated by the public, on top of the charges that go to meeting costs related to making donated blood fit for purpose.

He shared: “My question to MOH was a simple question…Apart from billing the patients who receive blood from blood transfusion the costs of collecting, processing, testing of each unit of blood to ensure that it is safe for transfusion and all other related costs, do our government hospitals make a profit out of public’s donated blood?”

MOH’s response was allegedly “very evasive,” according to Lim: “My question to them was a simple and straightforward question, however, their reply to me was anything but simple and straightforward. They completely and conveniently ignore my question about whether they make a profit from public’s donated blood.”

Lim said that this was what MOH replied to him:

  1. MOH subsidies the cost incurred by the blood bank in processing the blood.
  2. There is a further subsidy at the hospital level, depending on the patients’ choice of ward and mean-test status.
  3. Patients who are PRs will also be subsidised at the hospitals but at a lower level then for citizens.
  4. Should you need to obtain the charges of the services/procedure, you may wish to contact the practicing public hospitals for advice on this matter.
  5. Patients who experience financial challenges to manage their medical bills can approach the Medical Social Workers”

Lim added: “I have repeatedly assured the two MOH officers whom I spoke with that “Profit” is not a dirty word and if our MOH or their hospitals only bill the patients to recover all their costs that they have incurred to carry out a safe blood transfusion with no profit markup whatsoever, just say No. Why and/or what is it so difficult for them to do so. I don’t understand. And if there is a profit markup after deducting all their costs, just say Yes and we make a profit from public’s donated blood.”

Noting that blood cannot be sold by donors in Singapore, Lim explained that the reason why it important to find out whether hospitals make money from donated blood is because it is a matter of principle. Lim feels that the public must not be kept in the dark when it comes to donations they make for the good of society:

“When blood is donated by members of the public who want to do good for society, then questions of ethics, moral and transparency must never be compromised. The public must not be kept in the dark if indeed their donated blood is used by our government hospitals to earn profits. This bit, MOH owes every single member of the public who donate blood free of charge to do good.”
“I want MOH and all government hospitals to understand that if there is nothing to hide, then there is nothing to fear. That is the litmus test and the true spirit and standard of professionalism and transparency, not only in words but in deeds. My exchanges with MOH on this blood donation and related issues suggest that the pap government falls far short.”

Read his post in full here:

I would like to share with fellow netizens my recent experiences with Ministry of Health about an enquiry on blood…

Posted by Simon Lim on Wednesday, 2 May 2018

46 COMMENTS

  1. My cousin is a blood donor since more than 20 years ago
    She is entitled to have 50% off on certain charges of hospitalization bill
    My auntie when alive, too, enjoyed same benefit
    If yes, patients should be charged when received donor blood
    But at reasonable rate and not making HUGE profit from it

    But now, new donors do not have such benefit?

  2. Simon Lim, here’s my understanding of donated whole blood and related products (platelets, plasma, and RBC):
    1. All such donated products at the blood bank are sold for profits after adjusting for product processing costs such as the costly procedure of HLA typing.
    2. The profit margin will differ from client to client (private vs. public hospitals).
    3. The actual ‘marked-up’ margin by the blood bank to their clients will always be regarded as trade secrets for commercial/competitive reason.

  3. MOH top managements are disgusting untruthful unhonest unjust fkg killers
    Cover up info to protect surgeons , specialists
    Kill patient , just hit n runnn
    Getaway with careless manslaughter cos easily protected by smc moh untruthful top DRS
    Disgusting top DRS gky
    Murderers
    Fkg Burn in hell

  4. I am a blood donor as well. To me, I’m doing a noble thing which saves peoples life and happy that I am now part of them. For selling it, is the shameless people out there taking patients life for granted. My husband is not a local and he share me. His father was in hospital and need transfusion immediately which is 6 bottles. 6 of his friends volunteer as my husband wasn’t there at that time. The hospital there said each of them needs to donate 2 bottles one will be stored and one will be transferred. I think our country still the best as one person can save 3 lives. If gov want to help the donor in a way, appreciate them well enough.

  5. Donated blood has to be screened for viral pathogens like HIV and hepatitis B and C. The blood will have to be treated and stored properly in the blood bank prior to use. Patients are paying for the cost of screening, processing and storage of donated blood. Manpower costs are not even factored in.

    As stated clearly in MOH’s reply, MOH subsidises the cost of processing blood by the blood bank and there are further subsidies at hospital level.

  6. It’s not right to profit quietly from the generosity of the public who donate out of pure ultruism for the public good. So if profit (after all processing, logistical and administrative costs are recovered) is indeed made, they should be declared and it’s use is made clear. If not, possibly donees will feel being taken advantage of.

  7. Please tell me what is done without making a profit? They have to run the hospitals, pay salaries, upkeep the hospitals etc etc. They will not answer your question directly because even a simple Yes or No will have consequences. Life’s not that simple here.