Singapore’s public healthcare system has always been lauded as one of the best in the world and has even been given the highest ranking in Asia in a World Health Organisation global study. Apart from its strong research centres and cutting-edge technology, one of the reasons it has remained at the top is due to the affordable cost of healthcare nationwide while still maintaining quality service. This can be seen through the Screen for Life programme.
What is Screen For Life (SFL)?
In a nutshell, Screen For Life (SFL) is Singapore’s national screening programme initiated by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to offer locals affordable health screening options.
In 2017, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the enhancement of the current scheme to encourage more Singaporeans to go for regular screenings. This enhancement comes with more subsidies and coverage, to make health checks even more affordable than they already are. In this way, financial hurdles will no longer be in the way for those seeking to get checked.
According to MOH, it is advised to go for full-body health checkups in intervals at least once a year or once every two years to assess the current state of your physical health and for early detection to identify potential illnesses. Since many chronic conditions start off “silent”, regular health screenings can help detect them earlier and allow for effective treatment and care in the early stages.
Who is eligible?
Despite knowing the benefits, many Singaporeans don’t prioritise this simple procedure and often neglect it altogether. Many illnesses and chronic conditions don’t present symptoms until their later stages—when it’s far too late. Fortunately, all Singaporeans are eligible for subsidised screening, depending on their age and gender. As long as you are an eligible Singaporean, no application is required. You should have already received a letter of invitation from the Health Promotion Board (HPB) at this time.
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Recommended screening tests available under SFL
Take a look at this table for all the recommended screening tests provided under the Screen For Life Programme, based on the various age groups and genders:
|To screen for:||Screening Test||Frequency of test||Individuals aged 18 to 39 years old||Individuals aged 40 to 49 years old||Individuals aged 50 years old and above|
Fasting Blood Glucose
|Once every 3 years||✔||✔||✔|
|Diabetes Risk Assessment||Once every 2 years or as often as there are changes to any risk factors||✔|
|Obesity||Body Mass Index (BMI)||Once a year||✔||✔||✔|
|High Blood Pressure||Blood pressure measurement||Once every 2 years||✔||✔||✔|
|High Blood Cholesterol||Lipid profile||Once every 3 years||✔||✔||✔|
|Colorectal Cancer||2-day Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)||Once a year||✔|
|Breast cancer (For women only)||Screening mammogram||Once every 2 years||✔|
|Cervical Cancer (For women only)||Pap Test (25 to 29 years old)||Once every 3 years||✔||✔||✔|
|HPV Test (30 years old and above)||Once every 5 years||✔||✔||✔|
How much does it cost?
CHAS Blue, CHAS Orange, and Merdeka Generation (MG) cardholders will only need to pay a fixed fee of $2 upfront under the SLF programme. On the other hand, CHAS Green card holders and all other Singaporeans will only need to pay $5. As for seniors who are part of the Pioneer Generation, it is completely free!
For Singapore Citizens, this fixed fee will cover the cost of the health screening visit itself along with any necessary tests ordered by the doctors. These can be screenings for cervical cancer, colorectoral cancer, and cardiovascular risk. If required, the consultation fees for a follow-up visit will be covered by the fee as well. Take note that these rates are only applicable at CHAS GP clinics and may not be available at certain private practices.
Unfortunately, Singapore PRs are not eligible for SFL subsidies. However, they can still benefit from the HPB’s screening test rates at participating CHAS GP clinics. To find out more about the rates for PRs, be sure to contact your chosen clinic before making a screening appointment.
Step-by-step guide on how to make an appointment
Not only is the SFL programme affordable, but the booking process is also simple and straightforward. Here are three simple steps on how you can book your appointment.
Step 1: Identify the most suitable screening tests according to your age and gender.
For your reference, you may refer to the table above. You may also use your SingPass to check for which screening test(s) and subsidies you are eligible for here.
Step 2: Find the nearest CHAS GP Clinic in your area and book your appointment directly.
For the complete list of participating CHAS Clinics in Singapore, click here.
Step 3: Bring your NRIC and/or applicable CHAS/PG/MG card on the day of your health screening to be eligible for the subsidised rate.
Without the relevant identification, patients may be charged the normal fee instead.
Some screening tests may require specific preparations such as overnight fasting or avoiding certain types of foods. With that, it’s recommended to always book an appointment beforehand instead of making a walk-in booking. Patients will then be advised on the necessary steps and preparations to take according to the test that will be conducted.
What should I do after my screening?
After any health screening, your results will determine the next step in your care journey, if necessary. Within a few days, your CHAS GP will contact you via telephone consultation or request a face-to-face appointment at the clinic. Here’s what you need to do afterwards:
What to do when your results are ‘normal’?
There’s no doubt that everyone looks forward to receiving normal test results after undergoing a health screening. But even if everything is a-okay, individuals are still advised to continue with regular screenings at the suggested frequency as changes in their body and physical health could happen at any given time.
What to do when your results are ‘borderline’ or ‘abnormal’?
‘Borderline’ results shouldn’t be a cause for commotion right away. It could simply mean that the results have exceeded the normal range slightly and require patients to make minor lifestyle changes.
However, ‘abnormal’ test results may be an indication of an underlying condition. Upon receiving the results, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment options and if additional tests are necessary.
Why should I go for a screening?
Most people often think that health screenings are only necessary when your physical body starts exhibiting various symptoms or signs. But despite what many people believe, the best time to get checked is when you are still feeling fine.
The whole purpose of these medical checks is to gain better awareness of your own health and detect potential diseases early to manage, postpone or even prevent the symptoms from showing up.
The last thing you’d want is to get screened later in life and realise that you have a chronic condition in its later stages, which could have been preventable if only you were screened earlier.
How can Homage help?
“Prevention is better than cure”. We may all be familiar with this saying but it’s high time that we put those words into action and make time for the necessary health screenings so that our loved ones can stay healthy and aware of their own health conditions.
If you are looking for additional help with your elderly loved one’s care needs, Homage provides home care, nursing care, as well as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech therapy to ensure that they are able to age comfortably.
Provide the best care to your loved one today! Fill up the form below for a free consultation with our Care Advisory team.
- Bunag, L. (2021, June 14). Cervical cancer: Causes, prevention & where to get vaccinated. Homage. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.homage.sg/health/cervical-cancer/
- Bunag, L. (2021, June 14). Pap smear 101: Overview, procedure & results. Homage. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.homage.sg/health/pap-smear/
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- Screen For Life Booklet – HealthHub. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2021, from http://www.healthhub.sg/sites/assets/Assets/Programs/screening/201909/pdfs/Screen_For_Life_Booklet_Malay.pdf
- Tan , J. H. (2021, November 11). Diabetes 101: Symptoms, types, causes and prevention. Homage. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.homage.sg/health/diabetes/
- Tan, J. H. (2021, August 17). Colon cancer 101: Symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment. Homage. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.homage.sg/health/colon-cancer/
- Tan, J. H. (2021, August 17). Hypertension 101: Symptoms, causes, stages, treatment and prevention. Homage. Retrieved December 27, 2021, from https://www.homage.sg/health/hypertension/