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