SINGAPORE: The medical landscape in Singapore is adapting to a shortage of manpower as innovative self-service clinics gain traction across the city-state. These doctor-free clinics enable patients to register for online consultations and empower them to obtain prescription drugs and, in some instances, receive vaccinations and physical examinations.

Patients entering these clinics follow a streamlined process—after payment, they proceed to the consultation cabin, register with their ID card, and engage in online consultations. Utilizing provided instruments such as blood pressure monitors, thermometers, and weight scales, patients measure vital signs as per the doctor’s guidance.

Upon completion of the consultation, patients can swiftly collect prescription medicines outside the cabin, with the added convenience of 24/7 access to over-the-counter medications. This entire process takes a mere 10 to 15 minutes, costing approximately half of a traditional manned clinic visit.

One example is a self-service clinic in Jalan Besar, a collaboration between a technology company and a medical group. Housing two resident doctors offering remote consultations, the clinic has witnessed a steady influx of patients seeking medical advice or purchasing medicine. With a roster of eight doctors on call, the clinic aims to save time for patients, including travel time, achieving a two to threefold reduction in the time spent on medical consultations.

The company is in discussions with countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and potential Middle Eastern partners to expand the system globally.

In Tanjong Pagar, a doctor-free clinic originally focused on sexual health self-testing services has broadened its offerings. Situated in a shopping mall, the clinic now provides vaccinations and health examinations to the public.

Staffed by trained professionals and a phlebotomist, this clinic caters to office workers in the city centre. Patients familiar with the procedures do not require a doctor’s presence. The clinic has serviced over 200 patients since the beginning of the year, with 30 per cent opting for vaccinations and the remainder undergoing tests for STDs.

As Singapore pioneers these doctor-free clinics, the evolving landscape reflects a novel approach to healthcare delivery, addressing manpower shortage challenges while offering convenience and efficiency to patients.