KKH versus Thomson Medical Center - busting myths


New Member
Hi everyone,

I wanted to share my thoughts for those who are choosing which hospital/ doctor to be with for their pregnancy journey. I have been with Thomson Medical Center for nearly 1.5years for fertility treatment, before switching to Kandang Kerbau Hospital for ivf so that I can enjoy government subsidies (why not enjoy the privileges of being a citizen right...). I am very very blessed to be pregnant with twins now, and I was so happy with the entire experience, I decided to be a patient at the Private Suite with Kandang Kerbau Hospital, under Dr HH Tan.

I told myself, since most private doctors have to refer their high-risk patients to Kandang Kerbau Hospital during a "complication", why dont't I just skip the hassle and be with Kandang Kerbau Hospital throughout and get attention from the best in the field? So I went against many of my family's wishes and friends' advice and stuck to Kandang Kerbau Hospital. The free apples, the good parking, the nice environment, the friendly nurses... whats not to like? Too bad these are all superficial compared to more important considerations. Let me list down some of my personal myths/ assumptions which I have busted after some consideration, so that other ladies making this important decision on private/public healthcare can make a more informed decision than I.

  1. Myth busted #1: Going to Kandang Kerbau Hospital is cheaper than going to a private doctor. This is not 100% true, and it depends on the permutation. So, my doctor, Dr Tan, is a head of department, and he charges $105 before GST for consultation. I go to Dr LC Cheng at Thomson Medical Center (bless his heart and his busy nurse's heart!) who charges $95 before GST for consultation. If you choose a consultant or a less experienced doctor at Kandang Kerbau Hospital, there is indeed a price difference - if I remember correctly, a consultant is $85? dont't quote me on this, but I am sure there are cheaper charges. For my case, its not true as I chose a Head of Department. Myth busted.
  2. Myth busted #2: You get the best of the best at Kandang Kerbau Hospital when you go for your appts because they are specialists. This is not true during our "peace time", because you are seen by noobs and wet-behind-the-ear doctors in-between consultations with your doc. Scans and ultrasounds are done by expert sonographers at Kandang Kerbau Hospital and also at private clinics, but the critical difference is that at the private clinic, your doctor analyses the results with you. At Kandang Kerbau Hospital, I was under the impression that it would be the same as I was a private patient. Yah right... every analysis is done by a different doc. When my first trimester screening results were a little suspect, I was ushered to a little room and was told my results were "abnormal" by the youngest and most timid doctor I've ever seen. He brought in an even younger looking genetic counselor whose American-accented English (she looks Singaporean and her name tag seems Singaporean) burnt my ears. Not to get personal with her slang or dress sense (all I can say is, it was very "fashion forward"), she was smiling throughout my distressing session. To cut the long story short, I felt abandoned by Kandang Kerbau Hospital who refused to offer me any alternatives apart from amniocentesis (they didn't even mention Harmony. The doc couldn't even tell me what the baseline results for comparison were). I refuse as I am expecting twins. She told me to seek private help. This is another story for another thread. Unless you are there for ER cases, Kandang Kerbau Hospital is a training ground for noobs who lack bedside manners. I dont't blame Kandang Kerbau Hospital - we all have to start somewhere, docs included and as a public hospital it is a "school" after school for those medical students. Just dont't start your training with me. (Sorry to be so selfish) At Thomson Medical Center, all my results are channeled back to Dr Cheng, who knows my history, my character, my fears. He tells me things in a way I understand, and it is always reassuring to know that you have one point of contact for everything related to your pregnancy.
  3. Myth busted #3: Procedures are cheaper at Kandang Kerbau Hospital. Wrong - my first trimester screening was more expensive or at the least, comparable. At Kandang Kerbau Hospital, you do a blood test at 9 weeks, and return to do your ultrasound at 11 weeks or so if I remember correctly. The blood test was over $250, and the scan, another hundred or so. I need to check my receipts. I did OSCAR at Thomson during my 13th week, and the cost was comparable if not slightly cheaper. Maybe medicines are more expensive, I am not sure - maybe this is another myth to be busted with informed research.
  4. Myth busted #4: As a private patient at Kandang Kerbau Hospital, you can contact your chosen doctor easily. WRONG WRONG WRONG. Hell I need to breathe into a bag for this to stop myself from hyperventilating. It is easier to seek an audience with the pope than to get Dr Tan (no insults meant, Pope Francis is da bomb and even I as an agnostic love him for being so humble and down to earth). No hotline, no email, no office phone, no nurse handphone, no nothing. When I told him this in my appt with him, he said that I could always go to the clinic and ask to see him. I told him candidly that there are policies in place at the hospital to protect doctors from such sort (i.e aggressive) of patients. When KK abandoned me after my first trimester screening, I called Catherine, Dr Cheng's nurse. Even though he was super busy, Catherine gave me an appt immediately for 12noon (I called at 1015hrs). I arrived at 1115hrs and saw him 5 mins later. When a doctor forgets that a distressed patient should be his or her priority, it is time to change profession. Unless you are a super kanjeong spider manja-type patient who cries wolf all the time, then maybe there is cause for suspicion. But if you are the typical patient - quiet, non-demanding and reasonable (I think I am!!), when I ask for help, I truly am in distress. And it is very reassuring for a first time, high-risk pregnant woman that her doctor can be reached easily through his nurse.
  5. Myth busted #5. If you are not already a patient at Kandang Kerbau Hospital, its hard to be admitted if you need special care. WRONG. In Singapore at least, no hospital can turn away a person in need. Maybe it is easier administratively if you already have a record with the hospital, but if you need ER care, take an ambulance and go. The government subsidy for mummies and kiddos requiring intensive care should not be sniffed at. In such situation, I have been told to go in as a C class patient, so that costs are manageable. Why spend $200K in a private hospital if you can spend only $5K after subsidy and medisave as a C class patient in a public hospital? The money will go a long way feeding your kiddo and making sure he or she has the best you can afford.

I know this is a loooong post. And I know there are countless other comparisons one can make. Eg. between KK and Mount E, or any other hospital. With personal experience at KK vs Thomson Medical Center, I recommend ladies who are sitting on the fence regarding healthcare and has an okay budget to think carefully about the above. Only the best wishes for everyone. xo


New Member
interesting. currently not attached to any doctor at kk and considering other hospitals and doctors after first trimester. what are the overall fees like for kk compared to thomson?


New Member
Hi mummyfdr, my experience with KK ended with the first trimester screening but I kept an open appointment just in case. I did not go into a very detailed analysis of delivery cost, so I will not be able to comment confidently. However a quick check online shows that KK should give a smaller bill for delivery. For a 2-day normal delivery, a "package" for an A1 ward is S$2020, but they wrote that the estimated bill is S$4695. (Home - KK Women's and Children's Hospital)

For Thomson Medical, a standard single bed 2-day stay normal delivery is $2970.30. I do not know if this includes daily room rate of $530 or not. Its a little tricky to read! (http://www.thomsonmedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Maternity-Packages2.pdf)

As soon as I progress to that stage of my pregnancy where I have to crunch the numbers for delivery, I will have a clearer idea of the costs. As I have been rather scarred by my KK experience, I will stick to Thomson unless it is an ICU case where the cost will be phenomenal. By then I will go for C class ward so the issue of a dedicated doctor will not longer be relevant. As I am a first time mum, maybe my expectations of care is higher (and less realistic!!). I am a one-doctor person and prefer a familiar face explaining everything to me.

In terms of medication, Dr Cheng is not a huge fan of supplements as he says that there are fillers, and starch and preservatives in every pill, so if your diet is good, there is no real need for them. The only exception is for folic acid. A bottle of Obimin multivitamins cost me $20 at Thomson Medical. I'll dig my receipts tonight to see how much they cost me at KK. It will be most interesting to compare!

Sorry this is not too helpful!!
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New Member
Thanks for sharing ur experience. Really in need of this kind of information cos I'm a 1st time mummy too.