If you need urgent medical attention but it’s not life threatening, here’s why you should consider visiting an urgent care clinic instead of the hospital’s accident and emergency room (A&E).
While most non-urgent medical problems can be managed by your general practitioner (GP), sometimes the pain just can’t wait. Instead of heading to a crowded emergency room with a long wait time, visiting an urgent care clinic is a great alternative. That’s exactly the reason why specialist emergency physician DR CHEAH SI OON recently opened Urgent Care Clinic International (UCCI), which provides healthcare to anyone in need of immediate treatment for non-life-threatening illnesses, injuries, infections and pain. She tells us more about it.
What exactly is urgent care?
If your condition is urgent but not life-threatening, you can be treated at an urgent care facility rather than going to A&E. An urgent care clinic can provide a higher level of outpatient care than GPs, while not being physically attached to a hospital.
There are many public urgent care facilities around town, though UCCI is currently the only private clinic of its kind in Singapore.
When should a person go to urgent care as opposed to A&E?
Sometimes, it’s not as obvious as you might think. Some of the medical conditions that can be treated at UCCI include:
- conjunctivitis (pink eye);
- minor nosebleed;
- gastric or urinary tract infection;
- minor allergies and skin rashes;
- minor headaches or abdominal pain; and
- suspected dengue fever.
Some of the injuries that can be treated at the clinic include:
- minor head injuries with lacerations;
- sprains and strains;
- fractures and dislocation;
- insect or animal bites (pets);
- accidental ingestions;
- foreign body or jewellery removal; and
- minor cuts and burns.
However, a visit to the hospital emergency room would be necessary in the cases of certain medical conditions and injuries. These include:
- sudden loss of vision;
- severe infection;
- suspected heart attack;
- suspected stroke;
- severe abdominal pain;
- coughing out or vomiting blood;
- severe head injury with loss of consciousness;
- multiple bone fractures with visible bone fragments;
- venomous insect or animal bites;
- serious poisoning or drug overdose;
- major burns; and
- smoke inhalation.
What are the benefits of visiting an urgent care clinic instead of A&E for an urgent problem?
UCCI is run by a team of accredited adult and paediatric emergency specialists and specialty-trained nurses who can provide immediate diagnosis and treatment for people of all ages, with on-site blood and urine tests, x-rays and ultrasound scans. They can then immediately start treatment – for example, suturing of wounds, setting of bones, and administration of drugs and intravenous fluids – without having to call on other specialists and surgeons, which is often the case in a hospital emergency department.
The clinic also tends to be less busy than a hospital, with a waiting time that’s much shorter than that of A&E. What’s more, visiting UCCI instead of A&E can help decongest the busy hospital emergency departments – especially important during this pandemic! Additionally, UCCI provides follow-up consultations to facilitate continuity of care until a patient’s condition has resolved.
Other medical services include pre-departure and diagnostic COVID-19 PCR swabs, routine vaccinations and health screenings, specialist house visits, and tele-consult and tele-triage for added convenience.
This article first appeared in the March 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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