Updated: 08/30/2014 01:46

Pioneers to come under CHAS by September 1

Pioneers to come under CHAS by September 1

General practitioners and dental clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme, or CHAS, have been receiving more enquiries and pre-bookings from the pioneer generation over the past month. 

This comes ahead of the expansion of the scheme, to include all pioneers, regardless of income or housing type. 

It kicks in on Monday, offering support to a further 300,000 people who'll get to enjoy subsidised care at participating clinics. 

Madam May Leong visited a CHAS dental clinic in Bedok on Friday morning to make an appointment for next month to get her teeth scaled and polished. 

The 65-year-old is pleased that she won't have to pay a single cent for the $60 procedure. 

Advanced Dental Clinic, where Madam Leong made her appointment, has already seen 30 to 40 such pioneers who are looking forward to subsidised treatments. 

Dental assistant Koh Siew Choo says they're expecting additional demand for the clinic's services once the expanded scheme kicks in. 

And that's why they're hoping to hire more dentists and assistants. 

"To cater for the pioneer generation. We'll try to hire 2 to 3 of them. We not just hire, we must make sure they can talk to them. We cater to those Hokkien speaking, Cantonese or even Malay." 

Senior Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor, visited the dental clinic and other medical centres in the area on Friday. 

Speaking to reporters, Dr Khor says that it appears many pioneers already know of the benefits of CHAS. 

"My conversation with the doctors that we've just visited - they told me that they've been having enquiries in the last couple of weeks. Just this morning, they had people who came to ask them about the subsidies available. Because they're front-line staff and they're quite well-apprised about the special CHAS subsidies, they've been able to advise the pioneers who come in to make enquiries."

One GP, Dr Lim Yong Chin, believes the expanded scheme will prompt older patients to seek help earlier. 

"With CHAS and the pioneer generation package, it makes it such that thinking about whether or not you've got money in your pocket, or whether you're to pay for next week's groceries, they become less of a factor in terms of deciding whether you have to see a doctor. A lot of older people have genuine concerns, they're having simple skin problems and all that, which could turn worse, they're probably coming in a little bit earlier, and becoming less inhabited about seeing a doctor and getting it sorted out at an earlier stage." 

-By Valerie Koh

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