See your GP for non-emergency conditions

by | August 1, 2019

A refreshed GPFirst public education campaign by CGH encourages the public to develop relationships with their GPs.

Changi General Hospital (CGH) has launched a refreshed GPFirst public education campaign to further encourage the public to visit their General Practitioners (GPs) for non-emergency medical conditions.

Started as a pilot in 2014, GPFirst is an initiative led by CGH to encourage patients to see a network of 205 GP partners as the primary physician to address the number of non-emergency self-referrals to the A&E department. The pilot project led to a reduction in non-emergency attendances at CGH.

“Since the launch of the GPFirst initiative in 2014, we are heartened to see a 10.5 percent reduction in non-emergency self-referrals at CGH’s A&E. However, for non-emergency conditions, there is a need to further engage the public to increase awareness of the types of medical conditions that can be treated by GPs. By reducing the number of non-emergency cases at our A&E, we can respond to emergency cases in a more timely manner,” said Adjunct Professor Lee Chien Earn, deputy group CEO, SingHealth Regional Health System and CEO, CGH.

Some of the non-emergency conditions include:
• Abdominal pain or indigestion.
• Cold and flu.
• Cuts and bruises.
• Fever.
• Headaches.
• Hives.
• Insect bites and stings.
• Mild burns and scalds.
• Nosebleeds.
• Sore eyes.
• Strains and sprains.

What is deemed as emergencies would include conditions that result in serious complications or death such as strokes, heart attacks and serious injuries.

While the GPFirst initiative aims to encourage patients to visit GPs for non-emergencies, patients who are initially assessed by partner GPs in the GPFirst programme to have more serious medical conditions and appropriately referred to CGH’s A&E Department, will have priority over those who present themselves directly to the A&E Department with minor conditions. Patients assessed by participating GPs as requiring emergency department care are also provided with a S$50 subsidy to offset their A&E bill, in recognition that they would have incurred charges at the GP clinic earlier.

Presently, CGH’s A&E still attends to many common medical conditions such as flu, sprains, acute tonsillitis, that GPs are well-qualified to treat. Adjunct Associate Professor Steven Lim, CGH’s chief of A&E said, “GPs are the recommended first line of care for those who are unwell in times of non-emergencies. We want to encourage more people to form and develop long-term relationships with their neighbourhood GPs. This will enable the GPs to have a more holistic understanding of the patient’s medical, social and care needs, and to better advise on the care required for the patient as an individual.”

For more information about the GPFirst initiative and information on the participating GPFirst clinics, go to: Updates are also provided via the Facebook page at


(** PHOTO CREDIT: pixabay)




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