The GPFirst Programme – How Does It Benefit Me?

woman speaking with her doctor

Singapore’s healthcare system is renowned for its efficiency and accessibility, continually evolving to meet the needs of its population. One such initiative is the GPFirst Programme, designed to streamline healthcare services and ensure that patients receive timely and appropriate care. 

This article explores the GPFirst Programme, its benefits, and how it can enhance your healthcare experience, particularly in the context of visits to a health screening clinic.

Understanding the GPFirst Programme

The GPFirst Programme was first piloted at Changi General Hospital (CGH) in January 2014 to encourage patients with mild to moderate medical conditions to visit their General Practitioners (GPs) instead of heading directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments. This programme aims to reduce the burden on A&E departments, ensuring that critical cases receive prompt attention while providing patients with accessible and efficient care for less severe conditions.

How Does the GPFirst Programme Work?

When a patient visits a GPFirst-participating clinic, the GP will assess their condition. If the condition is deemed manageable at the primary care level, the GP will provide the necessary treatment. However, if the GP determines that the patient needs specialist or emergency care, they will refer the patient to an A&E department. Importantly, patients referred through the GPFirst Programme receive a $50 subsidy on the A&E attendance fee, making the transition to hospital care more affordable.

Benefits of the GPFirst Programme

Timely and Appropriate Care

The GPFirst Programme ensures that patients receive timely and appropriate care. By visiting a GP first, patients can get quick medical attention for non-emergency conditions, avoiding the long waiting times often associated with A&E departments. GPs are equipped to handle a wide range of health issues, providing immediate relief and treatment.

Cost Savings

One of the significant advantages of the GPFirst Programme is the cost savings. Medical consultations at GP clinics are generally more affordable than visits to A&E departments. Additionally, the $50 subsidy on the A&E attendance fee for referred patients helps reduce the financial burden on individuals who need hospital care. This makes the healthcare system more accessible and equitable.

Reducing A&E Overcrowding

A&E departments are designed to handle severe and life-threatening conditions. However, they often get crowded with patients experiencing mild to moderate ailments. The GPFirst Programme helps alleviate this issue by diverting non-emergency cases to GPs, ensuring that A&E resources are available for patients who need urgent care. This improves the overall efficiency and effectiveness of emergency services.

Building Stronger Doctor-Patient Relationships

Regular visits to a GP allow for the development of a stronger doctor-patient relationship. GPs can provide continuous and comprehensive care, understanding their patients’ medical histories and needs better. This ongoing relationship fosters trust and encourages patients to seek medical advice and screenings proactively, promoting better health outcomes.

Integrated Care

The GPFirst Programme is part of Singapore’s broader strategy to integrate healthcare services. It ensures that patients receive coordinated care across different healthcare settings. GPs can manage follow-ups and chronic conditions, referring patients to specialists when necessary. This integrated approach enhances the overall patient experience, providing seamless transitions between primary and specialist care.

The Role of Health Screening Clinics

Importance of Health Screenings

Regular health screenings are vital for early detection and management of various health conditions. Health screening clinics play a crucial role in preventive healthcare, helping individuals stay informed about their health status and take proactive measures to maintain their well-being.

How GPFirst Complements Health Screenings

The GPFirst Programme complements the services provided by health screening clinics. By encouraging patients to visit their GPs, the programme promotes routine check-ups and screenings. GPs can refer patients to specialized health screening clinics for comprehensive evaluations, ensuring that potential health issues are identified and addressed early.

Enhancing Your Healthcare Experience

Accessibility and Convenience

The GPFirst Programme makes healthcare more accessible and convenient. With numerous GPFirst-participating clinics across Singapore, patients can easily find a clinic nearby. This accessibility encourages individuals to seek medical advice promptly, preventing the escalation of minor ailments into more serious conditions.

Empowering Patients

By promoting the use of GP services, the GPFirst Programme empowers patients to take charge of their health. Patients are encouraged to seek medical advice at the primary care level, where they can receive personalized attention and guidance. This empowerment fosters a proactive approach to health management, encouraging individuals to engage in regular health screenings and preventive measures.

Improving Public Health

The GPFirst Programme contributes to the overall improvement of public health in Singapore. By optimizing the use of healthcare resources and promoting preventive care, the programme helps reduce the incidence of severe health conditions. This not only benefits individual patients but also alleviates the strain on the healthcare system, ensuring its sustainability and effectiveness.


The GPFirst Programme is a valuable initiative that enhances the healthcare experience for Singaporeans. By encouraging the use of GP services for non-emergency conditions, the programme ensures timely and appropriate care, reduces healthcare costs, and alleviates the burden on A&E departments. It also complements the services provided by health screening clinics, promoting a holistic approach to health management.

Take Charge of Your Health Today

Your health is your most valuable asset. Ensure you receive the best care by participating in the GPFirst Programme and visiting health screening clinics regularly. At Keystone Clinic & Surgery, we offer comprehensive health screening services tailored to your needs. Our experienced medical professionals are here to provide you with personalized care and guidance. Don’t wait—schedule your appointment today and take the first step towards a healthier, more informed future. Take charge of your health with Keystone Clinic & Surgery!

References GPFirst. NUHS GPFirst Programme. The Experience of the GPFirst Programme. GPFirst Scheme Cuts Waiting Time at Changi General Hospital.

Share this post