5 Things to Consider Before Visiting a Healthcare Specialist in Singapore 2023

The maze that is Healthcare

The Singapore healthcare system is impressive in many ways — from a comprehensive financial system to accessible hospitals and local neighbourhood GPs within walking distance of your home. In fact, in 2020, it ranked 1st in the world for the most efficient healthcare, according to Bloomberg’s Health-Efficiency Index. 

But what do you do when it’s not just the flu? With the numerous options available, navigating the healthcare system can also be quite daunting and confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with it. 

Some people don’t like the wait (or do not have the luxury of time to do so) and are often passed around from one healthcare provider to the next until you find the right doctor for your condition. The comprehensive financial system may also be overwhelming, with the need to understand your insurance plans and the policies and entitlements that come with them. 

  1. Is it the right doctor?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a GP referral to see a specialist. You can contact the specialist clinic directly to make an appointment. 

If you are already aware of your symptoms and have a general idea of what you suffer from, you could cut your time spent by visiting a specialist right away. For example, urinary issues could entail a visit to a urologist. 

Knowing your doctor’s background is essential. Specialist doctors have sub-specialties and certain treatments and techniques they are known for. These can generally be found on their clinic websites. 

An alternative option would be to visit your GP for an initial diagnosis, in which they may refer you to a specialist after. The trade-off, however, is that it may take you more consultations and hence, a longer wait before you get the necessary treatment or procedure. This may not be the best option if your condition is time-sensitive or if you’re experiencing symptoms that you would want immediately treated.

  1. Are you insured?

Healthcare in Singapore is expensive, especially for expatriates. This makes it paramount to take your insurance coverage into consideration. You may have restrictions on which medical providers you can visit and if certain treatments are insurance claimable. 

Some clinics have this information available online, but it would be best to give them a call and enquire because this information may not always be up-to-date. 

If you reside overseas, note that many insurance companies only partially cover emergency medical flights. Remember to read the fine details of your insurance policies carefully. 

  1. Visa applications

If you live outside of Singapore and would like to seek treatment within the country, you may need to make the appropriate visa application arrangements. 

You can apply via the Singapore embassy in your respective countries. Generally, you’ll have to make sure you have:

It’s important to note that these applications may take time, depending on your country of residence. It may take as long as 6 weeks, so plan early! 

Pro-tip: If you’ve already found the specialist you’d like to visit in Singapore, you may request a supporting letter to aid in your application.

  1. Getting around

Clinic location matters, especially if you will have to see the doctor often for check-ups and long-term care. Look into the location of the clinic, how accessible it is and how long it will take to travel to and fro appointments.

On that note, if you live outside Singapore, consider the necessary transport arrangements you would need to make. For more serious cases and disabilities, you may require medical evacuation services. 

  1. Post-care support

If you plan to undergo surgery or a procedure, remember to make the necessary arrangements. Have a trusted friend or family member assume the role of primary caregiver to assist with the transition from hospital to home. 

What’s Beyond Medical Assistance?

Here at Beyond Medical Assistance (BMA), we believe in providing accessible and holistic healthcare experiences that go beyond the provision of medical services. Helmed by a healthcare management team with a combined experience of 40 years, the BMA team will hear your concerns and refer you to the appropriate specialist in the public or private sector. 

We function as a single point of contact for all your healthcare needs, such as:

Beyond Medical Assistance also has in-house healthcare ambassadors to assist with hospital admissions and to facilitate proper communication between your overseas medical provider and Singapore specialist, ensuring that you get the necessary care and attention. Getting treatment doesn’t have to be complicated. If in doubt, WhatsApp or call us at +65 6589 8111, or drop us an email at wecare@beyondmedical.com.sg for a consultation. 

Specialties & Sub-specialties in Medicine: Are you seeing the right doctor?


The human body is complex, and the realm of health and medicine is just as vast and extensive. Although all doctors share the same goal of helping you get better and stay healthy, they each have their own skillset and expertise, or specialities. Some doctors opt to further their practice within the area of their specialty and focus on more specific conditions, structures or treatments — these are called subspecialties. 

For example, you could have two cardiologists who both specialise in matters of heart health (cardiology), but one could sub-specialise in interventional cardiology, while the other in electrophysiology and pacing — just like how a house would need a plumber and an electrician.

Under the same analogy, if your child had heart issues and needed treatment, would you go to a paediatric cardiologist or would you go to an interventional cardiologist? Understandably, it can be confusing. 

In Singapore, there are 49 recognised clinical specialties in the medical field, ranging from Anaesthesiology to Urology [1]. 

Each specialty branches out into sub-specialties,with over 100 different sub-specialties in Singapore. Under Cardiology, the doctor could specialise in anything from clinical cardiology to electrophysiology or heart failures and transplants. 

Why do doctors have sub-specialties?

To ensure the best patient care, sub-specialties allow doctors to narrow down their focus on specific areas of their specialty, allowing them in-depth knowledge and enabling them to treat complex health problems that they may not have been able to without subspecialising.

After completing their medical training, doctors can undergo fellowships and residencies to train in their subspecialty of choice. Doctors can even opt to have dual-subspecialty by getting the appropriate training. 

General practitioners, specialists and subspecialists

General practitioners are generally your frontline doctors or your primary care physicians. They are the first people we consult when we suffer from a symptom but do not know what’s wrong. From there, a general diagnosis is done, and they will provide you with treatment.

However, if necessary, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a more comprehensive diagnosis and if you require more specialised and treatment. A specialist may refer you to a subspecialist if you have a specific or complex condition that needs further diagnosis. 

How do I find the right specialist doctor in Singapore?

There are two main ways to find the right specialist doctor for you:

  1. Ask your General Practitioner (GP)

As mentioned earlier, your GP could perform an initial diagnosis and help understand the underlying causes of your symptoms. If you need further treatment, they can recommend what type of specialist you should seek a diagnosis from next. 

The advantage of having your GP as the first point of contact is that they would be able to refer you to a specialist who would be better equipped to treat your condition. The trade-off, however, is that it may take you more consultations, and hence a longer wait before you get the necessary treatment or procedure. This may not be the best option if your condition is time-sensitive or if you’re experiencing symptoms that you would want immediately treated. 

  1. Do your research

If you are already aware of your symptoms, you could visit the specialist straightaway. There are hundreds of specialist doctors online in Singapore, and doing your due diligence could land you the right one. There are other things to take note of, such as:

  1. Contact Beyond Medical Assistance 

Here at Beyond Medical Assistance, we take the hassle out of finding the right medical provider and walk you through the entire process — from hearing your concerns and referring you to the right specialist to arranging your first consultation and assisting in your insurance claims and billing process. We function as a single point of contact for all your healthcare needs, such as:

Beyond Medical Assistance offers concierge services for overseas patients as well. We cut the hassle by assisting with Visa applications for medical visits, arranging medical appointments and flight and accommodation bookings. We also assist in facilitating proper communication between your overseas medical provider and Singapore specialist to ensure that you get the necessary care and attention. 


Knowing specifically where and who to consult can help you save time and receive treatment earlier. With the vastness of specialties and subspecialties available, it can, understandably, be confusing. Beyond Medical Assistance is committed to being your single point of contact for your medical needs. Contact us to book a consultation, and we’ll link you up with the right healthcare specialist. 

[1] Singapore General Hospital. “Specialties and Services.” Departments and Centres, https://www.sgh.com.sg/patient-care/specialties-services/specialties-and-services-singapore-general-hospital. Accessed 26 November 2021.