Changi General Hospital (CGH) launches a refreshed GPFirst public education campaign on 23 July 2019 to further encourage members of the public to visit their General Practitioners (GPs) for non-emergency medical conditions.

Started as a pilot in 2014, GPFirst is an initiative led by CGH to encourage patients to see a network of 205 GP partners as the primary physician to address the number of non-emergency self-referrals to the A&E department. The pilot project led to a reduction in non-emergency attendances at CGH. However, data from CGH’s Accident and Emergency Department (A&E) showed that between January 2017 and December 2017, more than 45 per cent of A&E non-emergency cases were patients between 20 to 45 years old, who had visited the A&E for conditions that could have been managed by GPs in the primary care setting.

Educate through GPFIRST digital touchpoints

In a joint study by CGH and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), individuals who perceive their medical conditions to be critical were 3.5 times more likely to visit the A&E, even if their condition could be attended to by GPs. To counter this perceived criticality, CGH’s public education campaign will focus on educating those between 20 to 45 years through GPFirst’s digital media touchpoints on the mild-to-moderate symptoms for conditions that can be attended to by GPs first.

To reach out to patients between 20 to 45 years old, bite-sized information on when patients should visit their GPs first will be shared via a dedicated Facebook page. Following that, a three-part GPFirst video series will be rolled out to reinforce the message that common medical conditions can be treated by GPs.

In addition, there is a collaboration with Gametize Pte Ltd to introduce a gaming application called “GPFirst Challenge”, which will also be launched soon, to educate the public in an entertaining and engaging way.

GPs as primary physician for patients

While the GPFirst initiative aims to encourage patients to visit GPs for non-emergencies, patients who are initially assessed by partner GPs in the GPFirst programme to have more serious medical conditions and appropriately referred to CGH’s A&E Department, will have priority over those who present themselves directly to the A&E Department with minor conditions.

Patients assessed by participating GPs as requiring emergency department care are also provided with a $50 subsidy to offset their A&E bill, in recognition that they would have incurred charges at the GP clinic earlier.

Go to a GP if you have mild-to-moderate symptoms such as:

  • ​Abdominal Pain or Indigestion
  • Cold and Flu
  • Cuts & Bruises
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Insect Bites & Stings
  • Mild Burns & Scalds
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sore Eyes
  • Strains & Sprains

Presently, CGH’s A&E still attends to many common medical conditions such as flu, sprains, acute tonsillitis, that GPs are well qualified to treat.

More about the GPFirst initiative and information on GPFirst clinics will be available via the GPFirst website and participating GPFirst clinics. Updates will also be provided via our Facebook page.