More health services to resume from June 2, including TCM

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Cancer screening, surgical operations for advanced cataracts, flu vaccinations and dental procedures are among the healthcare services that will be allowed to be carried out from next month.

These are some of the treatments under the broad areas of specialist outpatient, allied health, community-based and preventive health services, as well as medical procedures and chronic disease management, that will be accessible to patients from June 2, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced yesterday.

Other examples of procedures that can soon proceed are joint-related operations for patients with severe impairment, scopes for high-risk groups and diabetic foot screenings.

Treatments will be prioritised by healthcare providers based on necessity and available capacity. Appropriate safe distancing and precautionary measures will also have to be taken, said MOH.

For instance, measures to minimise aerosol generation during dental services have to be in place. Such aerosols - tiny particles or droplets that remain suspended in air - may be produced by high-speed dental instruments during procedures and represent an infection hazard as they could be contaminated with micro-organisms and blood.

Complementary healthcare services such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) will also resume, though these have to be one-to-one sessions and by appointment only.


TCM acupuncture will be allowed for all conditions, said MOH.

The Straits Times reported last week that many elective procedures in hospitals that had been put on hold to free up capacity for Covid-19 patients,would be gradually resumed.

Public hospitals had been deferring non-urgent and non-essential healthcare services progressively since February to ensure enough capacity to treat Covid-19 patients who need hospitalisation.

As part of circuit breaker measures that started on April 7, all TCM medical halls were allowed only to provide consultation and dispense herbal medicine to their patients, but the restrictions gradually eased since then.

On the latest announcement yesterday, the ministry will inform service providers of the changes through its usual channels, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.