The Health Bureau (SSM) has replied to an accusation filed by lawmaker Agnes Lam at the Legislative Assembly (AL), with the authority expressing “deep regret for some false statements.”
During the plenary session, Lam commented on the case of a woman who sustained severe burns as a result of domestic violence and is now seeking medical treatment abroad.
The lawmaker accused the Bureau of only being concerned with its own image and motivated by economic interests, disregarding the right of the patient and family to be informed of all the possible solutions.
Lam said, “the SSM only reacted after the case was made public when the family of the patient organized an event to raise funds for her treatment.”
In the Bureau’s statement, the SSM clarified that “before the press conference organized by the family of the victim of domestic violence, which aimed to announce the fundraising for treatment in the United Kingdom, the government departments had already informed the lawmaker [Lam] of the existence of a charity organization available to subsidize the patient’s surgical treatment.”
Although refuting Lam’s accusations in general, in the same statement, the SSM acknowledged that “when the Health Bureau became aware of the intention of a charity to support the victim to have surgery abroad, the Singapore medical institution was immediately contacted and the patient and family members were clearly informed of the situation in order to minimize the psychological pressure on the patient.”
“There was no intention to delay the [medical] information that [would support] decision- making.”
“As the whole process involves the high expenditure of funds from the public purse […], the Health Bureau had the obligation to clarify and protect the public’s right to information,” added the Bureau, “in order to avoid misunderstandings and confusion.”