The following article is in today's Straits Times.
Sep 7, 2007
Appalling service at Thomson Medical Centre
I REFER to the report, 'Thomson Medical chief wins entrepreneur award' (ST, Sept 5).
First, I would like to congratulate Dr Cheng Wei Chen on his achievement. It is truly inspiring to read that his dream of transforming the experience of childbirth has been a success and to see his dream expand further.
However, he said, 'Where else can mothers order drinks in their bedrooms?', which conflicted with my experience at Thomson Medical Centre (Thomson Medical Center). My wife gave birth to our second child at Thomson Medical Center on Aug 8. Our first child was also born there some 21/2 years ago. One evening, my wife called the nurse from her room for a cup of hot Milo as she wanted to take it with her medication. To her surprise, she was told they did not have Milo and she would have to wait till the next round of meals. My wife ended up going down to a cafe on the ground floor to get her drink - barely 48 hours after giving birth via Caesarean.
On another occasion, I was standing just outside the nurses counter at level 5 where my wife's room was and overheard a telephone conversation where one of the patients also asked for a cup of hot Milo to be taken to her room. The nurse said they did not have Milo but she would try to get one out of politeness when the patient insisted. After putting down the phone, the nurse complained to her colleague. She said: 'She called for Milo. She thinks we are a hotel? Can order room service?' I had the impression that patient would not get her drink either.
Given my accounts of what actually happens in Thomson Medical Center when patients try to get a drink, I think Dr Cheng does not have a clear picture of what is happening at ground level. Perhaps you can order a drink but to get it is a different story. I also noted that the level of service has declined since we had our first child in 2004. It would be sad to see Thomson Medical Center lose out to its competitors because of this as I believe it has a lot of potential. For Thomson Medical Center to stay up there with the best, service cannot be compromised. We paid more than $12,000 for the delivery of our children at Thomson Medical Center and many of us would expect service to match that. Yeoh Meng Yau
Quite shocking to read this. When I gave birth at singapore general hospital, the nurses asked me a few times whether they can bring me a cup of hot Milo. Looks like private hospital does not always give better service than public hospital.