Singapore healthcare / living abroad after serious illness

(8 Posts)
Clueless2727 Wed 13-Nov-13 21:16:05

Not really sure what the point of this post is, but here goes...
We were due to move to Singapore in July but 5 weeks before we flew out I was diagnosed with cancer (somewhat of a shock) . 5 months later i've finished chemo and been given the all clear.
I couldn't have got through the past few months without the support of my friends and family, but it has also made me realise the importance of making the most of opportunities.
Dh's company have been amazing and if we want to still go the vacancy is still there.
We've discussed the pros and cons at length and we're still very keen to move. (Probably early next year)
We have checked several times with head of hr at singapore and they have assured us i am fully insured healthwise.
I've been told the chances of my cancer coming back is slim and other than scans every 6 months i don't need any follow-up treatment, medication etc.
I suppose really i'm asking does anyone have any experience of healthcare in singapore. I've heard the hospitals are excellent and really does any expat know of anyone else with similar experience
Not really looking for, should we go or not as think everyone would have different opinions, but mine is, this made me realise you don't know what is around the corner. I've always wanted to live overseas and now seems a grat time to focus on something positive, but any practical advice would be welcome

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FatOwl Wed 13-Nov-13 23:20:42

So glad you have the all clear.
I live in KL, not singapore, but the standard of private health care is similar.
As long as you are definitely covered for a return of the cancer the care you will get will be fine.

I had a friend here had breast cancer last year, and she was treated here and was happy with the care she had, and now has the all clear.

Another parent at our school who I didn't know that well, had bowel cancer and has now since passed away. She got great treatment here, but I remember her saying while the consultant care was great, the nursing care was a bit lacking in her experience. She didn't notice until she had a round of Chemo at a BUPA hospital in the UK where the nursing care was so fabulous.

I'm sure someone will be along with Singapore specific advice, and there is an active Singapore expats forum (or it might be a FB group) where you can get individual consultant advice.

Singapore is lovely-go for it. (I always go down for a few days before Christmas to get my festive lights fix!)

Saltedcaramellavacake Fri 15-Nov-13 15:48:55

Fantastic news that you have the all clear.

I'm in Singapore and would say that the health care here is generally excellent but it is a small place - the only person I know who had cancer here (bowel cancer, stage 4 when discovered) had to go immediately to Australia as the treatment options there were so much better than here (more surgeons with more experience, more invasive therapies available etc). You may want to investigate whether there are specialists here who your own doctors would recommend - and whether there is a full suite of treatments available, if the worst was to happen. I don't want to put you off, but having watched one family having to uproot their lives in devastating circumstances to move countries, I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

The only other thing I'd say is that moving abroad can be very stressful. Please make sure you're in the best health possible before doing it. The difficulty for mums is that usually you're the one who must hold it all together for the kids and that can be very hard, physically and emotionally.

Good luck with your decision. Tough call.

Clueless2727 Tue 19-Nov-13 16:46:10

Thanks. Yes my consultant here knows c

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Clueless2727 Tue 19-Nov-13 22:46:12

Sorry was trying to type from my phone. Thanks for advice. Yes my consultant is confident about the healthcare in singapore.
Most of the considerations are practical. I'll probably need a live in maid so i've got a babysitter for any drs appts whereas i probably wouldn't have had one before and a lot of the practical move will be done by other people.
Good point about being emotionally strong though. I am realistic enough to know that the grass isn't always greener and it won't be plain sailing settling in to a new country, culture, school, friends etc. but they are both very excited about the opportunity at the moment.
Question though, does singapore have GPs like in the UK or how do you then see a dr. With bupa i call them up, they then refer you to specialist direct.
Thanks for advice. If the worst happens and i get a recurrence (even though i've been told it's unlikely) and we are in singapore then it will be a lot tougher with no friends relatives and a different culture but i could sit in the uk and wait for 5 years by which time the opportunity will be gone. Sometimes, You've got to just grab life by the horns and go for it ��

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butterfliesinmytummy Wed 20-Nov-13 02:20:54

You've got an amazing attitude about your move, really realistic and practical, you'll be OK. GPs are the same as the UK, they make referrals. On the plus side, you barely need to wait to see a GP. My dd2 was turned away from nursery one day years ago with suspected hand foot and mouth so I called the doc from the car park and the receptionist offered me an appointment in the next 15 minutes.... Couldn't make that one so I saw him 30 minutes later. They are pretty good that way. We were with International Medial Clinic which is pretty central, very expat (expat docs from UK / Aus etc as well as Singaporeans who have trained and worked overseas) and pricey but we were insured. Kids were at International Paediatric Clinic, same building, same organisation, thought they were all pretty good.

I'm sure it's been suggested to you in the past but there are a lot of posts on the Singapore expat wives group on facebook about helpers looking for new families as people leave Singapore - a referral is a good start to hiring a good maid.

HollyMadison Wed 20-Nov-13 15:46:15

Hi. I'm in Singapore and have experience with the healthcare system as my DS was diagnosed with a permanent condition/disability (not an illness) a few months after moving here. So I would say...

1. Read the health insurance policy and schedules yourself rather than trusting HR. Then you can see what is covered related to your illness in the unfortunate event that you need some treatment here eg GP, consultant, diagnostic tests, scans, A & E, hospital stays, medication... We found that DS's condition isn't covered by our policy (although turns out insurance policies don't tend to cover it so we wouldn't have had cover with another policy).

2. We've found the care, both GPs and hospitals, to be thorough and excellent. Maybe because someone is paying for it (individual or company) there is a sense of service. We've very rarely had to wait for anything and there are always scores of people - sometimes feels like too many - to assist. The medical profession here seem to be a lot more "interventionist" than in the UK and you will walk out of a GP appointment with numerous meds incl antibiotics in circumstances when I think my London GPs would not prescribe anything.

3. Yes there are lots of GPs around. They have good opening hours and we've been to GPs on Sundays. You don't need to register with a GP like in the uk and can go to any you please (although you'd want to check what's covered by your insurance policy). Lots of expats go to the IMC which another poster mentioned.

4. Yes join the Singapore expat wives facebook group - a wealth of information.

5. You've no doubt read that it's expensive to live here. Rents and schooling (including pre-school) are astronomical. You may want to look into figures for what you'd need on those fronts before agreeing salaries.

Hope you make it over here as it is fun and an easy place to live. You will make lots of friends here smile


Clueless2727 Wed 20-Nov-13 21:32:40

Thanks for advice. I think we'll be ok. Saw my consultant tonight and he is more than happy with us going and will continue to monitor me from UK (im with bupa).
That's good to know about gps though, even though before this i don't think i'd been to see my dr for years.
Yes contract relating to cost of living and school fees was all thrashed out earlier in the year and my hubbie had signed the contract so it just needs to be dusted off and re-signed. We had signed the kids up to stamford (luckily they were very good and gave us back all the admin fees we'd paid) but with dulwich opening we're now going to wait and have a look and decide when we get there. Dd only in yr 3 and ds not due to start school until next year so will just home school for few months until august. Exciting opportunity xxx

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