Skip the polyclinic visit and collect medicine at a nearby convenience store instead. That is what some chronic disease patients under the National Healthcare Group's (NHG) chain of nine polyclinics have been able to do.
A new system, which started four months ago, allows these patients to collect their medication from 34 7-Eleven stores across Singapore.
The drugs are stored in lockers which patients open with a one-time code delivered to their mobile phones.
Each delivery costs $4, and can be paid along with medication fees. Medication is packed into tamper-proof bags to protect patients' privacy.
The idea is to allow patients the convenience of picking up their medication round-the-clock, rather than being limited to polyclinic operating hours. Opening hours are usually 8am to 430pm on weekdays, and 8am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.
The healthcare group has already been offering home delivery of medication for about 10 years, at the same price of $4 per trip.
"But there are patients who, due to their lifestyles, do not have the time to sit at home and wait (for deliveries)," said Ms Chan Soo Chung, who is executive director of NHG Pharmacy.
Only 10 or 11 patients have used the new collection service so far. However, the group hopes that more people will come on board in the future.
The new service is only open to patients with chronic conditions who have a doctor's prescription.