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During Your Consultation

During Your Consultation

On Your Arrival

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before your registration time at the specified clinic for registration.

Registration

Upon registration, you will be issued a queue ticket and advised which consultation room your doctor is in. Please take a seat while you wait for your number to be flashed on the queue system monitor at the waiting area as well as outside the consultation room. Please note that consultation is by appointment and not on a first-come-first-serve basis. 

On your first visit, you will be given an Outpatient Appointment Card to record details of your appointments. Please bring this card with you each time you visit the clinic, as it will help speed up the registration process.

Why do I have to wait when I have made an appointment?

The outpatient clinics see about 3,000 patients daily. Patients are seen according to their registration times to prevent the situation where many patients will try to come early and expect to be seen first. It would then create confusion and many patients would then end up waiting even longer. It also causes over-crowding at the clinics. 

The queue number reflects the patient’s scheduled registration time. Even if you come earlier, your queue number will still reflect your registration time. However, if you arrive later than your scheduled registration time, your queue number would follow your time of arrival. This is to allow the clinics to manage their patient load more efficiently and fairly. 

Although patients are given appointed time to see specialists, they often have to wait because consultation for each patient varies depending on the complexity of the conditions. Priority may be given to patients who need immediate attention. Doctors may also be held up or called away from the clinic to attend to emergency cases. 

To keep the waiting time for an appointment short, the clinics will also accommodate a few additional appointments in the doctors' clinic sessions to compensate for patients who may not show up for the appointment. The waiting time at the clinic would be prolonged if all patients were to turn up. 

As for the patients you saw entering the consultation room without being called, these are patients returning for a review of results from any investigation or test ordered by the doctor, when they saw the doctor earlier. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need to wait for hours, or even days, for laboratory results?

Doctors regularly send samples of blood, tissues and swabs of bodily fluids to hospital laboratories to confirm the presence of a wide range of diseases. Such tests are essential for the accurate diagnosis and effective management of patients. 

Some standard tests such as measuring the full blood count or blood glucose level require about an hour to be processed. However, the majority of routine tests can take as little as a few hours to as long as several days to complete. 

Special or complex tests may take anywhere from three days to a month before results are available. For example, if a patient is suspected of having a tuberculosis infection, the doctor will need to take a sample of the patient’s sputum for laboratory examination. At the lab, the sputum is cultured; meaning the suspected bacteria in the sputum is grown so that it can undergo various tests. This usually takes three to four weeks. 

Another example will be chromosome tests, where it may take about two weeks to culture the patient’s cells before actual tests on the cells can be done. 

For patients who may have HIV, a second set of tests to confirm HIV-positive status has to be done at the National Reference HIV Laboratory at Singapore General Hospital’s Department of Pathology. 

Once the tests are completed, the results are sent to the patient’s doctor or clinical team for interpretation and review. They will decide on the best way to manage the condition before the patient is informed about his or her diagnosis and proposed treatment plan. 

Why do I need to fast overnight before a blood test? Will patients taking tests that require fasting be given priority over others?

Blood tests are done to check for pregnancy, diabetes, cholesterol and vitamin and mineral problems. There are two main groups of tests that require fasting - blood sugar and lipids tests. Some examples include those measuring levels of blood glucose for patients suffering from diabetes, and triglycerides for heart patients. 

During the day, the normal range of blood sugar and lipids undergoes changes, depending on the ingestion of food and drink. For instance, the concentration of of triglycerides – a type of fat in the blood that is often tested as an indicator of heart health – increases after a meal. 

The effects of a meal on the levels of certain chemical substances in the blood used for analysis can be felt even after 12 hours. So by fasting overnight, a blood test result will not be influenced by a recent meal. 

Certain food components can interfere with the analysis of some types of test. For example, a meal rich in fats can cause cloudiness in a blood sample, which may compromise the accuracy of the laboratory analysis. 

Most of these food-related changes are temporary and can be controlled by a simple overnight fast. 

About 80 per cent of the tests done every day at SGH require fasting. Therefore, patients who are not required to fast are recommended to go for their tests in the afternoon when the polyclinics and SGH specialist outpatient clinical laboratory are less crowded. They should also avoid the day before and after a public holiday when more patients are expected to turn up for tests.

Which doctor will I see? 

Subsidised patients will receive team-based care led by an assigned specialist. Non-subsidised patients will receive team-based care led by their choice of specialist. Please be assured that patients receive the same quality of care regardless of their subsidy status. 

How many patients are there before me? 

Most of our clinics provide queue reminders via SMS. You may visit other areas within the hospital while waiting to see your doctor. You will receive an SMS alert when there are about three persons before you. You can also download the Healthbuddy mobile app to track the queue number.

How do I view or change my appointment? 


These options offer you convenient access to information about your appointments any time of the day.
You can view all your SOC appointments across SingHealth Institutions at one go and find exclusive slots available only online and on mobile.

If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please do so at least three working days before the scheduled appointment. This will help another patient waiting for medical attention to get an earlier appointment. 

If you need assistance, please call us at: 
Appointments hotline: (65) 6321 4377 

Monday to Friday 8:00am to 9:00pm 
Saturday 8:00am to 2:00pm 
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays