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January-February 10

A SingHealth staff publication

A fresh brew of possibilities SingHealth gets set for 2010

Celebrating EXSA-llence

SingHealth wins EXSA Superstar once again

Lighting smiles, changing lives President’s Challenge 2009 highlights


Special offer on gourmet coffee

Special Features

Contents • Foreword by A/P Teo Eng Kiong • On The Cover

01-02 me+YOU

The Force of Magnetism


• • • • • • • •

The Magnet journey SGH nurse wins EXSA Superstar Award 2009 Makeover for EXSA workshops Renewing SGH Campus Vibrant Campus – GPO Extends Beyond Buying Vibrant Campus – SGH A&E Department Smooth transition to Finance Shared Services Our primary healthcare model in Fujian



Clinician Scientist Awards


Bringing Smiles, Lighting Lives


• • • • • • • • • •

Clinician Scientist Awards Singapore Translational Research Award Milestones of President’s Challenge 2009 MOH Facebook Entry by GCEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat Sumatra Quake Relief Medical Mission Setting up the Institutional Biosafety Committee Breakthrough in healthcare technology Inaugural International CSR Summit Kidz Horizon Appeal wins PSS award CPIP Improves CGH Knee Therapy


me+SPOTLIGHT • At Home With…Dr Darren Tay & Ms Hong Sook Fern • Tea trivia • Hear It From The Experts

SingHealth Editorial Team Tan-Huang Shuo Mei Amelia Champion Katheryn Maung Jeanie Cheah Arthur Wong Mediactive Editorial and Design Team Lyon Low Florence Long Sher Maine Wong Mediactive Pte Ltd 65 Ubi Crescent #06-07 Hola Centre Singapore 408559 T: 6846 4168 | F: 6846 4768

me+SingHealth or me+SH represents who we are in SingHealth—as intertwining threads conveying synergy and complementing one another to form a beautiful fabric. me+SH links you to the action in all of SingHealth and around the healthcare industry. Do check out me+SH Online (http://mysinghealth/Singhealth/ MeSH) and me+SH Flash in your emailbox too!

28-33 me+LIVING

• me@SingHealth…SingHealth Dragonboat Team


me+SMILES • President’s Challenge 2009 beneficiaries



Patients. At the Heart of All We Do.

All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without the written permission of SingHealth and the publisher. The views and opinions expressed or implied in the publication are those of the authors or contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of SingHealth and the publisher. Whilst due care has been exercised, both SingHealth and the publisher do not accept responsibility for errors in advertisements or articles, unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations.

MICA(P) 059/03/2009


single virus wreaked havoc on healthcare systems worldwide and it can be said that 2009 equalled H1N1.

A/Prof Teo Eng Kiong Senior Consultant Deputy CMB (Medical Disciplines) Chief, Dept of Medicine & Head, Dept of Gastroenterology Changi General Hospital Chairman of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2010 Organising Committee

in raising funds for beneficiaries of the President’s Challenge. The start of 2010 sees us partnering Fujian to improve its primary healthcare system. Read these stories in this issue of me+SH.

But we emerged from 2009 stronger. Our mettle was tested, we rose to the challenge and we are better for it.

Two, is about integration.

Standing on the threshold of a new decade, there is much to look forward to.

Whether a patient goes to a primarycare, acute-care or academic healthcare institution, he should get the same standards of treatment.

All of what we do is about improving patient care and there are two areas we can think about. One, as doctors, while we may be specialists, we should take a step back and look at patients as a whole. Our multi-disciplinary team support enables us to look beyond our area of specialisation. I remember a patient who was referred to me for polyps or growths in his colon. I realised he had acromegaly, a pituitary gland abnormality which results in some physical changes and which could have caused the polyps. He was subsequently treated for the root condition. As a team, we also serve the needs of the community. The last quarter of 2009 saw SingHealth’s strong engagement

Standing on the threshold of a new decade, there is much to look forward to.

To that end, we are organising the SingHealth Duke-NUS Scientific Congress 2010. This brings our collaboration with the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School to a new level as we journey towards academic medicine. What this means is that the forum will be an excellent sharing platform for medical practitioners, academics and researchers to celebrate the spirit of inquiry. While it is all about the patient, we also want doctors to see that what they do is enjoyable and rewarding. So, for all of us, may it be a year of new breakthroughs, new insights and renewed inspiration.


New Year. Renewed Inspiration.


me+YOU 02


good cup of coffee – many would attest – is the only way to start a new day. As 2010 takes off, me+SH brings you a fresh brew of the new possibilities at SingHealth that inspire better care. In this New Year issue, we look at some of the initiatives planned to transform SingHealth into the largest academic medical campus in Singapore - from renewing our medical campus, expanding facilities, empowering staff and developing new technology to improve patient care. It’s all part of our passion. And when you’re passionate about something as much as we are, it’s easy to go above and beyond. Just ask Phil and Cedric Ho from Highlander Coffee. Across SGH Campus along Kampung Bahru Road, Highlander Coffee epitomises the passion of these brothers for coffee. me+SH brings you a special New Year promotion for drinks at Highlander. As you push open the doors of the gourmet coffee house, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee welcomes you to your first true coffee experience. A quick look around the place reveals an establishment that’s small enough to be personal, yet spacious enough to exude a professional dedication to the fine art of coffee-making. Your coffee arrives, and you taste their passion – the same passion that saw them grow from two brothers conducting barista workshops to becoming THE place to go to for gourmet coffee and coffee-paraphernalia in Singapore. But don’t just take our word for it. A small sip of their coffee says more than we ever can. If coffee is not your drink, turn to page 31 for your favourite cup of tea.

A brew of



A fresh brew for you too Exclusive offer to SingHealth Staff

Show your staff pass when ordering to enjoy 20% off all Highlander Coffee hot and cold beverages! *offer valid till 31 Mar 2010 *not applicable with loyalty card programme

The Force

of Magnetism As SGH gears up for the Magnet designation, me+SH goes behind the scenes to find out how the nurses are preparing the way. By Jeanie Cheah

Andy Chua (left) - winner of Magnet logo design competition

Browsing through the departmental reference manuals

Champion Badge



n 1983, 41 of 163 institutions were described as “magnet” hospitals in a study by the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN) Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals. This was due to their ability to attract and retain professional nurses. The characteristics that distinguish “Magnet” organisations from others became known as the “Forces of Magnetism”. Based on this study, the Magnet designation that SGH is working towards was incepted in 1990. The Magnet Recognition Program is a much coveted award recognising healthcare organisations that demonstrate quality patient care, excellence and innovations in professional practice. Developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), this is a designation that only 5 per cent of the nearly 6000 acute healthcare institutions in the United States hold.


me+GROUP 04

Magnet Cart

Fun learning at the Magnet Fair

SGH is the first hospital in Asia to vie for this prestigious award. As it geared up for the on-site visit from the appraisers in February 2010, many of its young nurses came forward to take the lead in preparing for this event. They are a force to be reckoned with in the campaign to garner the Magnet designation. There is a healthy buzz of activity, from the creation of publicity materials to inform both internal stakeholders and public alike to the production of departmental reference manuals.

The Possibilities of Magnet Prestige aside, Magnet-designated healthcare organisations have been shown to consistently outperform their peers in recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals, resulting in increased stability in patient care systems across the organisation. The recognition is a seal on the quality of its staff and this makes the organisation attractive to highly qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. It also creates partnership opportunities as other organisations recognise the value of the Magnet designation.

“Undergoing the designation process validates our existing strengths and along the way, we also identify fresh opportunities. The preparation is hard work, but I believe it has enriched us. The team spirit and unwavering commitment of our staff and senior leadership have been the mainstay throughout this amazing journey of discovery,� said A/Prof Lim Swee Hia, director of nursing at SGH.

me+GROUP 05

Magnet Fair

SICU Magnet Wall

I’M A MAGNET CHAMPION! SGH nurses are proud to declare themselves ambassadors of the Magnet journey. Their enthusiasm in this journey of discovery is evident in the collateral they produced. The staff interviewed are of the unanimous opinion that Magnet is an important affirmation of their work, but even more significant than that is what they have discovered in the midst of the Magnet fever: • The power of teamwork • The wealth of creativity and talent in the team • The importance of learning and re-learning • The need to communicate and clarify • Harnessing the strength of a multi-disciplinary team

Ward 63P Magnet wall

Ward 43 Magnet wall

me+GROUP 06

Empathy wins Empathy helped her win the hearts of her patients, says Senior Staff Nurse and EXSA Superstar Hartini bte Osman.


eak and feeble, the old woman asked for a potong ice cream. Knowing that she had no relatives, Senior Staff Nurse Hartini bte Osman went out and bought the ice cream for her. The patient died shortly after. This empathy for her patients and the willingness to act on it are what helped Ms Hartini, 27, win the Healthcare Industry Superstar of the Excellent Service Awards 2009. Only one Healthcare Industry Superstar is awarded each year. Said Ms Hartini: “I try to put myself in the shoes of patients or their family members, and think about how I would react in the same circumstances. This helps me to understand their feelings and needs better.” The Acting Nurse Clinician works in Ward 73 of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Singapore General Hospital. In the course of her seven-year career, which she refers to as her “calling,” Ms Hartini has often gone out of her way to help her patients, earning their gratitude. She has counseled, on her own time, a family who had been told that their justdeceased relative was HIV-positive. She later

helped them with the funeral arrangements. In another instance, Ms Hartini went to the home of a patient after work to help with a medical procedure. Because the patient was living in Choa Chu Kang, Ms Hartini had to take a taxi. In her citation, her supervisor Senior Nurse Manager Rosie Kwan, wrote: “She treats every individual with dignity and respect. Her positive attitude and caring personality has won her many friends and colleagues.” Ms Hartini’s thoughtfulness extends to her colleagues. She volunteers to emcee hospital events, helps out at medical examinations. She coordinated the hospital’s participation in a 4.6km marathon to help raise funds and awareness for the less unfortunate under the President’s Challenge. She also competed in the race with – with her colleagues – and she was pregnant. The mother of a three-year-old boy and a newborn baby girl has been on maternity leave, but was raring to return to work. “Every day there are different challenges,” said Ms Hartini. “Yes, I do shed tears on the job. But if I ever became hardened to it, I don’t think I should continue as a nurse.”

for E xellence Service Workshops S

erving customers in a shop is different from attending to the family of a hospital patient. For a start, family members are often worried, confused, and on edge. Recognising such key differences – and the different needs and priorities, a team from SingHealth Academy set about improving the training programmes for the national Excellent Service Awards (EXSA) to make them more relevant to the healthcare sector. The awards recognise outstanding service by individuals in various industries. Led by General Manager Neo Chia Reei, Project Director Quay Keng Wah and Tan May Yan, SingHealth’s Head of External Relations, the team worked with various healthcare institutions to identify areas for improvement and introduce enhancements to the training modules. In the process, their curriculum for the sector was adopted as a standard for all 10 industries participating in the EXSA programme. Some of the changes include: • A new curriculum which includes various hospital scenarios and mini case studies. • More fun and interactive lessons which include a healthcare scenario-based game that allows participants to discuss how they would manage various situations in their scope of work.

• Trainers from healthcare institutions are equipped with relevant skills in preparation for delivering the new curriculum. Appointing trainers from within the healthcare industry added to the sharing and learning. About 200 classes for close to 4,000 EXSA nominees from SingHealth were organised by the Academy’s events and planning team which was led by Susanna Tan.

Said DCEO Prof Ivy Ng,

“The team has done a great job in pushing for the revamp of the EXSA workshop curriculum and training approach. It is definitely more helpful for participants to work on scenarios that are related to the industry they work in.”

How do the participants find the training?

“In our daily routines and challenges, it did not occur to many of us that we are not demonstrating the appropriate service values. During my first EXSA course, the three key service traits for the Silver Award were reinforced through group activities. The role play leaves a deeper impression of the service qualities. Interesting and enjoyable.” - Pauline Lim, Executive of Surgical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore

“It is satisfying and heartwarming to hear from a diverse group of healthcare staff as they share multi-faceted success stories which all contribute in different ways to the service levels of the organisation. We encourage the participants to share and pass on good practices from their respective areas of work.” - Belinda Sia, Manager, Human Resources, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital





//////////// SGH Campus Renewal /////// 08

With the founding of Singapore General Hospital in 1821, SGH Campus made history as the birthplace of medicine in Singapore. Today, we continue this illustrious legacy with a vibrant campus for one and all, committed to transforming care.



al E Centr






Multi-storey Carpark • Operationally-ready in April 2010 with 586 parking lots • Shuttle buses to SGH are provided from Outram Park MRT


s Ho




a pit

National Heart Centre Singapore Building • 10 storeys with 2 basements, housing clinical services, education and training facilities • 35,000 sqm in gross floor area


Did you know that more than 1.3 million Singaporeans every year benefit from advanced medical care at SGH Campus?

//////////////// SGH Pathology Building • 13-storey twin towers which houses research, education and clinical services • 74,760 sqm in gross floor area • Co-occupied by SGH Pathology Dept, SingHealth Research & SingHealth Education facilities



am R




n the heart of a small island city, space or the lack of it is a perennial issue. Add to that the needs of an ageing population for healthcare and the vision to create a vibrant academic medical campus, we see why SGH Campus is undergoing renewal. Despite major construction works, it is business as usual for both our staff and patients. Public healthcare cannot come to a standstill, so the way to continue is to take every possible care to minimise the dust, noise and inconvenience. • Restricting noisy construction work to office hours between 9a.m. and 6p.m. • Keeping the noise level down during the demolition of slab and beam by using a crusher • Monitoring noise and vibration levels to ensure they are within guidelines set by the National Environment Agency • Controlling dust during demolition by spraying water and erecting heavy duty netting around the building • Proactively keeping patients and visitors will be informed of the construction works via memos, posters around SGH campus, and on the SingHealth and institutions’ websites. Visitors would have noticed the changes in the landscape at SGH Campus in Outram over the years as it continues to evolve to meet the long-term healthcare needs of our nation. With the renewal, services and expertise would be enhanced to serve Singaporeans better.


50% larger capacity in pathology services

• Faster laboratory results for patients •

3-fold increase in the number of clinics for cardiovascular care

786 additional parking lots on campus












e re







“The ageing population and increasing patient numbers, coupled with more new equipment and research, make it necessary to have extra space.” - Dr Wong Yue Sie, Group COO, SingHealth



buying The professional buyers at SingHealth have been so successful in sprucing up purchase processes over the past six years they are now branching out beyond the organisation.


By Sher Maine Wong

Sleepless in A&E In 24 hours, over 400 patients head to the SGH Accident and Emergency department with ailments ranging from broken fingers to faulty hearts. By Sher Maine Wong


ife in a hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department is frenetic, stressful and full of the sort of drama which makes for excellent TV. The only qualifier Dr Mark Leong, the head and senior consultant of the SGH Department of Emergency Medicine has is this: “The TV shows compress 24 hours worth of action into one hour. In that sense, it is not very realistic.” The A&E department provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and require immediate attention. At the SGH A&E department, over 400 patients stream in over 24 hours and are served by about 300 staff including doctors, nurses and ancillary staff. When they first come in, they are seen by nurses at triage and prioritised into various categories namely P1, P2 and P3 clinical areas. Of the patients, about 20% are trauma or injury-related cases, with 6-8% of these requiring urgent medical attention. These are the patients who may arrive at the hospital in a speeding ambulance and are sent straight to the resuscitation room. On the other end of the scale are the 0.1 per cent of what Dr Leong calls “non-emergency” cases, like the man who has had a lump on his hand for the past three months and

suddenly decides to pop into A&E to get it checked. “A lot of people think we are a one-stop centre with all the answers,” said Dr Leong. “Unfortunately, we are not.” The challenge is that every patient who comes in has a different problem. Said Dr Leong: “They literally come off the street. At A&E, everything is unanticipated and unscheduled. The greatest satisfaction for me as an A&E doctor is when I am able to identify the problem and correct it quickly.” What the A&E staff often face are long lines of patients, some lying on trolley beds, some with anxious relatives. They have to attend to the patients – sometimes up to three patients concurrently – sooth frazzled nerves and multi-task. “It takes someone who can work in a fast-paced environment,” said Dr Leong. “Someone who can maintain focus despite all the distractions.”

“We must understand what we are buying,” said Mr Lok. Usually, the category lead assigned to purchase a specific commodity starts with a systematic spend analysis. The lead reviews, for instance, why three hospitals are buying bandages from 20 different suppliers, and why different hospitals are given different quotations for the same brand of bandage. Establishing the factors that drive the cost for the commodity – the foreign exchange rate, place where the goods are produced, potential suppliers risks, etc – provides facts for negotiation with the suppliers. “We also talk to suppliers regularly to explore cost saving ideas, which we hardly did in the past. Often, the purchase price is only the tip of the iceberg. By understanding what the cost components are, we can work together for a better deal,” said Mr Lok, who described the current purchasing process as “active engagement.” The GPO now hopes to tell more people about what it is doing, particularly with hospitals in the region. They hope to organise a conference next year to share best practices on strategic sourcing from hospitals based in USA and Asia Pacific countries which have adopted a similar approach. “Many hospitals are buying into the concept,” said Mr Lok. “Each time we pitch the idea, it is well-received. Ultimately we hope to raise the standard of procurement in the region.”



aving helped SingHealth to save $120 million over the past six years, the Group Procurement Office (GPO) is now lending a helping hand to over 30 non-profit organisations so they can make better purchases. “In a way it’s a corporate social responsibility effort,” said GPO assistant director Lok Mun Leng. “We have acquired a high level of procurement competency and we are looking for other ways to value-add to the community.” The 20 organisations are health-care charities including nursing homes and community hospitals, and not all have the clout or expertise to efficiently use their hard-earned fundraising dollars to purchase supplies or equipment they require. The GPO comprises a team of 28 staff, nine of whom also report to the Materials Management Department of their respective SingHealth institution. The staff can be termed sourcing professionals. Said Mr Lok: “Many people think it’s just buying; what’s so special about that? But actually, millions of dollars can be saved, and behind that sum is a lot of hard work.” The team goes far beyond the standard process of 3 bids and 1 buy, which is typically used to secure a vendor before awarding the contract. What they do is “strategic sourcing”, which in a nutshell translates to a more analytical, research and pro-active working with vendors before anything is bought.


me+GROUP 12

Smooth transition


conomies of scale, improved performance standards leading to satisfaction of service users and more transparent management of governance and compliance issues. These are some of the aims of setting up the Finance Shared Services in SingHealth. FSS is a centralised division providing various finance processing activities, especially those with high volume and transactions, for hospitals and specialty centres in the SingHealth group. Leading up to the centralisation, the group finance and human resource departments worked closely to prepare the staff from each institution for the

to FSS

change. Roadshows and small group engagement sessions were held to relay information, address concerns of staff, and introduce staff to their future colleagues. Team bonding exercises are also being planned and carried out to help build cohesion. By mid January, the finance staff from each institution have all moved to the new premises at Connection One. FSS has become fully operational since 18 January 2010. The FSS team is headed by Ms Ng Siew Geok. Mr Johnny Quah, CFO of KKH, will take on the concurrent role as Chair, FSS Oversight Committee.



SingHealth Fujian Trainer Healthcare Professional

88 clinician trainees and 22 nursing trainees will undergo training by SingHealth and Fujian professionals, and upon completion become master trainers.


Fujian Master Trainers


Fujian Clinicians

The 110 master trainers will return to Fujian and conduct training classes for more than 3400 clinicians and nurses over the span of two years.


Our Primary Healthcare Fujian’s Role Model

January 2010 marks the beginning of a collaboration between SingHealth and Fujian Provincial Health Bureau to bring the Singapore model to transform primary healthcare in the province.


5 million residents of Fujian, China, will benefit from the transformation of Fujian’s community primary healthcare clinics from mini-hospitals to the primary care system in Singapore. This initiative is supported by a grant of $660,000 Temasek Foundation and a training programme by SingHealth Polyclinic’s PriME, with SingHealth Academy playing the role of training and grant administrator. The training programme will train 110 healthcare professionals from Fujian to be master trainers in various aspects of

primary healthcare. In turn, these 110 master trainers will train a total of 5500 healthcare professionals across Fujian. Comprising four primary care clinical leadership programmes and one primary care nursing management programme, the train-the-trainers programme is held over two years. Experts from SingHealth Polyclinics and Fujian’s health organisations will cover topics such as healthcare management, clinical knowledge, nursing management, health promotion and medical pedagogy within the primary healthcare setting.

83 community health service centres in Fujian will adapt the Singapore model of primary healthcare to better serve the needs of the local community.


people across the Fujian province will benefit from the healthcare transformation, among which are the 300,000 local residents of Qianpu, served by the new SingaporeXiamen Friendship Polyclinic – the first primary healthcare clinic and training centre in Fujian.





Two SingHealth doctors have received the Clinician Scientist Award, allowing them to devote more time and money on their research. By Sher Maine Wong

Who: Dr Louis Tong, Consultant and Clinician Scientist, Cornea and External Eye Disease Service Singapore National Eye Centre Area of research: Pterygium


terygium may not sound familiar to most. But the jellylike tissue which grows over the eyeball is a condition that is prevalent in Singapore, and its removal is the third most common eye surgery here after cataract and corneal refractive surgery. Clinician-scientist Dr Louis Tong is on a mission to find a more effective treatment, and will study the molecules which make up the pterygium. Said Dr Tong, a consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre: “Current treatment is not ideal, and this is largely because the causative mechanisms of these conditions are largely unknown. While the growth is not malignant like cancer, it can cause redness and irritation, and affect vision.” Through a trial that studies tissue samples from 100 patients, he hopes to find out why 10 per cent of patients who have had the pterygium removed experience a recurrence of the condition, and how it can be prevented. “For patients predicted to have a high risk of recurrence, there may be a need to follow up more closely post-operatively and maintain a more prolonged or intensive course of postoperative anti-inflammatory eye-drops,” he said.

His research on pterygium is one piece which fits into the bigger picture on diseases of the surface of the eye. Dr Tong, who heads the ocular wound healing and therapeutics laboratory at the Singapore Eye Research Institute where he spends the other half of his time, is also conducting research on the cell and molecular basis of wound healing in the eye. “The research is all related and it all ties in together,” he said. Explaining his penchant for ocular research, he said: “On the ocular surface, it’s so easy to see things. Unlike, say, if I were conducting research on the liver.” On why he pursues research, he said: “The challenges are huge. Things are always changing, and it’s a very dynamic area to be in. By comparison, clinical work is quite safe, but not nearly as intellectually stimulating.”


r Toh Han Chong aims to treat nasopharyngeal cancer by growing a handful of intelligent cancer killers from a patient’s blood and into a battalion, then a division and beyond, before injecting the expanded T-cells as they are known back into the patient’s body to invade and attack the cancer cell community. “Traditionally patients just undergo chemotherapy, but eventually the disease will bounce right back,” said the head and senior consultant of medical oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). Instead, Dr Toh and his colleagues used a combination of chemotherapy and T-cell therapy in patients last year in what is probably a world first in the first-line treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer. The cancer affects the upper part of the throat and is sometimes referred to as nose cancer, “The trial is ongoing and we are encouraged by the results,” he said. “So far the treatment has been well tolerated with no significant side effects.” Nose cancer, said Dr Toh, is an Asian killer which is much less prevalent among

Caucasians. It is the sixth most common cancer affecting men and women in Singapore. Believed to be caused by the Epstein Barr virus which infects the body and causes nose cancer later in life, the T-cells he is researching are specifically trained to attack the Epstein Barr virus proteins present on the cancer cells, destroying the cancer cells while sparing the normal ones. One challenge is growing the T-cells, for which he pays great tribute to his very hardworking lab team. “There are few facilities in the world with the capability to grow these cells to the highest and most exacting quality demanded for such a patient-based translational study, and we are very grateful that we have the facilities, infrastructure and expertise here to do so,” said Dr Toh. Dr Toh said he went into research after he met researchers in the United Kingdom where he was studying for a degree in immunology. “I had some early influences and it didn’t seem unusual for me to go into research,” said Dr Toh. He added: “One of the most rewarding things about research is totally patientdirected. In this case, we take the patient’s cells, grow it to a billion cells and we give it back to him.”

About the Clinician Scientist Award (CSA) In Singapore, there are about 80 clinician-scientists working in hospitals and national disease centres. The CSA, which aims to build a pool of clinician scientists in Singapore, supports their work by providing between three and five years of research funding. The CSA awardees spend at least 70% of their time researching their areas of specialty, and the remaining 30% on their patients. Ten CSAs were given out last year, of which four recipients are from SingHealth. The two earlier recipients are Dr Ling Khoon Lin, a consultant of gastroenterology and hepatology at Singapore General Hospital, and Dr Joseph Wee, a senior consultant of radiation oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.


Who: Dr Toh Han Chong, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore Area of research: Nasopharyngeal cancert



Leading customised cancer care researcher

gets top research award


A world leader in kidney cancer research, Professor Teh Bin Tean, recently received the prestigious Singapore Translational Research Award for top investigators. By Sher Maine Wong


rofessor Teh Bin Tean may have made a name as a world leader in medical research, but for now, his time is focused squarely on more mundane activities. “I’ve had to look at schools for the kids, think about how to get a local driving licence,” the Penang-born and bred investigator said. Prof Teh has been working on research in the United States, but after receiving the Singapore Translational Research Award for top researchers, moved here in December with his family, including two children aged seven and two. In Singapore, he will continue his groundbreaking work in the molecular profiling of cancer, in particular kidney cancer, in the hope that patients will be able to benefit from customised cancer care. It is an area he has been studying for the past 10 years, with the last two in conjunction with the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). “I am very excited at the opportunities the award gives me,” said Prof Teh, who will work with a team of 15. “There is a lot we are going to do.” “We want to know why some patients respond well to certain drugs or develop severe toxicities, why some don’t. To find out, we are using the

genome approach and studying genetic codes,” he said. Ultimately, it means that treatments will be more effective if doctors know, for instance, that a drug will not work well based on a patient’s genes. Prof Teh, who studied for his medical degree in Australia, obtained his PhD from Sweden’s Karolinksa Institute before joining the Van Andel Reseach institute in the US in 2000. He started working with NCCS in 2007. Although he has re-located to Singapore, he will continue to work with the Van Andel Research Institute. “Research has become very globalised and what we do is complementary,” he said. “Close collaboration means that we do not have to duplicate tests and we can do things a lot faster.” He plans to start a hereditary cancer clinic here in the next three years to test people who are at risk of developing certain cancers. Said Prof Teh, who chose kidney research because his father died of kidney cancer at the age of 40: “I used to test myself every two years in case the cancer was hereditary. But so far it’s been good!”


President’s Challenge 2009

Bringing Smiles, Lighting Lives.

Thank You for

Milestones for Presid

Well Done, Everyone! We raised $300,000 and brought 11,034 smiles.

24 Sept Smiles on the Go goes everywhere across the SingHealth group and at Duke-NUS

28 Oct KKH Community Outreach with Boys’ Town: ‘This Is It’ movie première outing at Vivocity.

9 Sept GCEO’s staff memo officially kicks off fun(d) raising for President’s Challenge 2009

31 Oct NHCS Community Outreach with Yong En Care Centre: Mental Health and Physical Exercises Workshop

Your Smiles

Our young friends from MILK and Beyond Social Services

ent’s Challenge 2009 7 Nov SGH Community Outreach with Muscular Dystrophy Association Singapore: Rehabilitation Programme through games

14 Nov SNEC Community Outreach with Bishan Community Centre: Free eye screening, health checks, education talks and exhibitions for the elderly

19 Nov (1) NDC Community Outreach with Bethany Methodist Nursing Home: Fitting Dentures (2) SHP Community Outreach with Bethany Methodist Nursing Home: Early Christmas celebration

22 Dec 10K Smiles for President S R Nathan

16 Nov NNI’s Community Outreach with St Andrew’s Community Hospital: Health Education Go to page 36 for the complete list of beneficiaries


Raising Fun, Raising Funds By Lee Yuen Mei

11,034 smiles and $291,000 were raised for President’s Challenge 2009. Our institutions and staff exceeded the initial target of 10,000 smiles and $200,000. SingHealth also made a special top up to round up the final amount to $300,000. We presented the cheque to President S R Nathan at the finale held on 22 December 2009 at the Istana. Group CEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat said, “I am thankful to all our staff, donors and supporters for their generosity and active participation in making this annual charity event a success. Your efforts have set an excellent example for the rest in our industry, and I hope that we will keep up this good work to help even more in the community.” President Nathan and SingHealth hosted 20 beneficiaries from Mainly I Love Kids (MILK) and Beyond Social Services to a special tea reception. There were smiles aplenty amongst the children and guests who not only got to mingle with the President himself, but were given a special tour of the Istana.


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Excerpt from Minister Khaw’s Blog 2 0 J A N U A RY 2 0 1 0

M i n i s t ry o f H e a lt h

Time-saving therapy


by Prof Tan Ser Kiat, Group CEO of SingHealth “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” This proverb came alive when I was a young doctor. My mentor, the late Professor N. Balachandran gave me his time and patience to share his wealth of knowledge and experiences. He not only ‘fed me for a lifetime’ but also empowered me to teach younger doctors. The concept of learning and knowledge exchange stayed with me through almost 40 years of being a doctor in public healthcare. The rich legacy of teaching and learning began more than a century ago on SGH campus. Today, we see the campus housing Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and SingHealth Academy, our dedicated education arm. At SingHealth, our priority is to encourage doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to immerse themselves in diverse learning experiences, in the pursuit of academic medicine. As we keep learning and imparting knowledge to others, our patients will ultimately benefit from better quality care. Last week, I was in Fuzhou with the Chairman of Temasek Foundation, Mr Goh Geok Khim, to sign an MOU with the Fujian Provincial Health Bureau, to train doctors and nurses in primary healthcare. The two-year training-of-trainers programme, administered by SingHealth Academy is conducted by SingHealth Polyclinics and experts from Fujian’s health organisations. Temasek Foundation has generously offered a grant of S$660,000 to fund this collaborative training effort. The Fujian government and the Fujian-Singapore Community have also funded the building of the new ‘Fujian (Xiamen)-Singapore Friendship Polyclinic’, to pilot this training programme.

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Why choose a Singapore model? I understand from my peers in Fujian that people in China go to hospitals for even minor illnesses and long-term chronic disease management, which causes overcrowding at the hospitals. The Fujian Health Bureau’s aim is to better equip healthcare professionals in primary healthcare delivery, so that hospitals can be ‘freed up’ to concentrate on treating patients who are ill with more serious or complex medical conditions. Our Fujian healthcare counterparts said they regard Singapore’s polyclinic system as their role model. I felt honoured by their compliment and recognised that although the Singapore system may not be perfect, it provides effective primary care to our community. What I find satisfying about this programme is that the 110 Fujian healthcare professionals who will come to Singapore for training, will return to train up to more than 5,500 healthcare professionals working in primary healthcare centers in Fujian. The net result is that the training programme will potentially benefit an estimated 36 million people across Fujian province. This collaboration illustrates the meaning of ‘teaching a man to fish’ and the positive multiplier effect that a successful training and education can bring about. As I ended my trip to China with a lecture at the Peking University People’s Hospital, it struck me that as much as I shared my experience in managing healthcare services here in Singapore with my Chinese counterparts, I also learned much from them. The commitment and camaraderie of their healthcare team towards public service is exceptional. Their hunger for knowledge and learning from others will surely ensure that their healthcare services will improve by leaps and bounds, just as I witnessed their rapid social and economic developments made over the last 3 decades when I first visited China in 1980. I’m optimistic that this project will help them build a good primary healthcare system to benefit some 36 million people in the province of Fujian. This will also provide some valuable lessons for our own colleagues who serve as ‘teachers’. BOOKMARK

P o s t e d b y m i n i s t ry o f h e a lt h at W e d n e s d ay, J anuary 2 0 , 2 0 1 0

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aring for C earthquake


A seven-member medical relief team recently flew into earthquake-battered Indonesia and braved the elements to treat over 800 people.


n eight days, over 800 Sumatrans whose lives had been ravaged by a devastating earthquake in September last year flocked to the striped makeshift tent for medical salvation. Sitting on plastic chairs, the patients who ranged in age from eight months to 80 years waited patiently to see the doctors. Dr Teo Eng Yee, a medical officer at the Changi General Hospital (CGH) was one of the SingHealth doctors who grabbed the opportunity to help out at the field clinic in Sikucur, Pariaman Padang. Dr Teo had previously gone on a socio-civic mission with the Singapore Navy during his army days. He said: “I was given the opportunity to join Mercy Relief in Oct 2009 during my A&E posting and I was supported by the department. I went to offer what aid I could. I wanted the opportunity to help those who have less access to healthcare and aid. “The high point was the gratitude of the locals, even though we could not help with some of their chronic illnesses like blood pressure and diabetes, as we were there mainly for primary healthcare. Even our advice and referral back to their local healthcare providers was much appreciated.” Dr Teo was part of a four-person medical team sent by the SingHealth Humanitarian Relief Programme (SHRP). The other team members were Dr Gene Ong from the KKH Paediatric A&E, nurses Neo Soon Keow from CGH SICU and Fazslinda Bte Mohamed from CGH A&E. Their trip was from 10-17 Oct and was

part of a bigger relief effort organised by Mercy Relief, a humanitarian charity which focuses on aid in the aftermath of tragedies in Asia. The team did not see many trauma cases, as they only went in about two weeks after the earthquake struck, but the bulk of their patients who could not access doctors due to the landslides were treated for wounds, upper respiratory tract infections, fever, cough, diarrhea, severe asthmatic and skin problems. Despite the scorching sun and monsoon rain, Dr Teo said they were heartened by the help they got from the locals. “Having local support to the level of having a local camping group help us set up camp, build a makeshift toilet and collect river water as well as buy in food from the villages was unexpected luxury!” he said. But the bad conditions meant that at one point, the team had to drive around for two hours on bad roads trying to reach isolated hill villages without success. Said Dr Teo: “The low point was being unable to help everyone. The trip really showed the importance of follow-up medical aid after disasters.” Dr Teo (third from right) and the SHRP Padang Team

SingHealth Humanitarian Relief Programme The SingHealth Humanitarian Relief Programme (SHRP) was launched to provide not only acute disaster relief, but will also engage in long term, sustainable community relief projects. Drawing from our SingHealth institutions to create a ready pool of healthcare volunteers, SHRP is poised to take humanitarian relief work in SingHealth and the region to greater heights to help communities in need. If you wish to sign up as a volunteer, please send an email with your particulars to Also look out for the SHRP Volunteer Drive in January 2010! Keep tuned-in to the SingHealth Desktop Portal for more information.


Which institutions will be included in the Committee?


the biosafety


A committee has been set up to ensure the safe handling of infectious agents across all SingHealth institutions.


ives are saved in a healthcare institution, but it is also here in the laboratories that bacteria, fungi and viruses are studied and researched and can potentially cause lethal diseases if mishandled. Some of these viruses include the HIV virus and the H5N1 flu virus. While sufficient safeguards have always been in place, SingHealth has gone a step further to set up a SingHealth Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) – biosafety stands for biological safety – to ensure that patients and staff are safe from exposure to toxic agents. The committee will take their cue from the Biological and Toxins Act, which came into force on January 2006 and ensure that such agents are, for instance, properly transported. SingHealth’s move widens the biosafety umbrella from the Singapore General Hospital, where an Institutional Biosafety Committee has been in place since July 2007, to cover all the SingHealth institutions.

Said Dr Ling Ai Ee, director of Biological Safety at SGH and chairperson of SingHealth Institutional Biosafety Committee, “As it became clear that biosafety oversight of research was urgently required, both as good practice and to ensure legal compliance, institutions within the Outram Campus began to seek the services of the SGH IBC.” Seeing the need for a wider IBC committee, a questionnaire was sent out to the different institutions. Said Dr Ling:

“The feedback received was a unanimous agreement to have a SingHealth level IBC as the overarching body to enable standardisation of oversight of research involving infectious agents and toxins in all SingHealth Institutions.” The IBC is particularly relevant to SingHealth as its staff is heavily involved in biomedical and life sciences work or research.

All institutions within SingHealth. Each institution will have a Management Representative on the IBC.

What services will the IBC provide? • Technical expertise to aid compliance with legal acts, and do necessary audits • Training of researchers, biosafety officers and IBC Committee Members in biosafety risk assessment and IBC related topics • Liaise with institutional biosafety units and facility personnel to rectify any deficiencies brought up during the audit

What are the fields SHS IBC subject expert members are in? • Molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, veterinary, stem cells, occupational health, facility management

Who are the personnel in the SingHealth IBC Office? • Dr Ling Ai Ee, Director, Biological Safety (chairperson) • Ms Cindy Goh, Senior Manager, Biological Safety • Ms Sim Phoi Sang, Administrative Assistant

Dr Ling


SingHealth IBC





Hybrid OT (NHCS) What it does:

Designed to handle both minimally invasive and open heart surgery, the hybrid OT is the first of its kind in Singapore with the capabilities of a full operating theatre with excellent imaging abilities that allows both the interventional procedure and cardiovascular surgery to be performed in the same setting.

MICO Nurse Charting (SGH), project managed by the Achieving Medical Excellence (ACE) workgroup What it does:

Nursing charts (clinical, hourly and intake-output charts) are converted into electronic documentation for online data capture, retrieval, flow sheet and graphical viewing.

What it means for nurses: What it means for the patients: Doctors are able to easily convert an angioplasty to an open bypass surgery if the need arises. The second procedure does not require rescheduling. This patient-centric move by NHCS improves patient safety, and facilitates faster recoveries and shorter hospital stays.

This project reduces the time needed by nursing departments to chart, with nurses and clinicians able to view the nurse charts online from anywhere and anytime.


The Ambient Experience (NHCS) What it does:

Imagine the anxiety if you were a heart patient going for a procedure, staring up at the ceiling as the nurse wheels you into the cold brightly lit room. At NHCS, the “Ambient Experience� Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory takes away that anxiety. This system, a first in Asia Pacific, combines design and technology, to neutralise the intimidating atmosphere of the laboratory and provide a conducive environment for both patients and care givers.

What it means for patients: The ambient experience suite allows patients to personalise lighting, projected images and other elements of the examination room, giving them a greater sense of comfort and control over their experience. Using a wireless touch screen, patients are able to select a room theme with dynamic lighting and calming sounds to suit them. The suite also has special procedural lighting for clinical staff that improves the workflow and reduces eye strain by sharpening the details of fine vessels during procedures.

h g u o in r h t k a e r B



Immersive Technology (KKH), project managed by iTAG What it does:

Children are a lot of fun to be with, but not when you’re a healthcare professional with a syringe weaving through a barrage of punches and kicks amidst a crying fit. Immersive technology developed by KKH helps to alleviate that problem by distracting the children with videos and pleasant music so they are able to keep still and feel less anxious during procedures.

What it means for the patient: The decrease in anxiety contributes to the child’s overall sense of well-being and recovery. This also removes the need for sedation or general anesthesia, which contain an amount of risk and after effects, during procedures


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Robotic Pharmarcy (KKH), project managed by the IHiS EMR Team What it does: The Inpatient Pharmacy Automated System (IPAS) automatically packs medication in unit-doses and dispenses it according to doctors’ prescriptions. The system integrates with the existing KKH Inpatient Medication Orders and Electronic Medication Administration Systems to deliver medication packed and sorted according to the time the medicine has to be administer.

What it means for the patient: Closed Loop Medication Management (CLMM) reduces medication errors, improves operational efficiency and enhances patient safety by using barcode technology to support the checking for the 5 rights – Right patient, Right drug, Right Dosage, Right Route and Right time.


Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


SR enables organisations to give back to the communities they are in, and in turn help the organisations to attract and retain good staff as more employers now realise. Singapore Compact hosted its inaugural International CSR Summit at the Orchard Hotel, 6 -7 October 2009. The theme was “Corporate Social Responsibility: Strategy for Sustainability and Success”. Opened by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, this timely conference also had SingHealth’s Group CEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat on its panel of speakers for the plenary session, which discussed the role of corporate foundations. The conference brought together experts from various sectors to address regional and international trends in CSR, and also provided an opportunity for participants to network amongst professionals and thought leaders, and benchmark against proven best practices.

Talk of the Town

Plenary Session 1: From left: Ms Ginney Lim, GM, SPH Foundation; Prof Tan Ser Kiat, GCEO, SingHealth and Chairman, SingHealth Foundation; Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman, Shell Group of Companies, and (Panel Host) Mr Willie Cheng, Author, Doing Good Well, and SingHealth board member.


on the horizon


n 2004, eight friends saw their professional success as an opportunity to do even more for others who are less fortunate. As a result, Kidz Horizon Appeal was born, with Dr Caroline Heah as its Chairwoman. In recognition of their achievements and contributions, Kidz Horizon Appeal has been awarded the President’s Social Service Award 2009. Since its inception, the group has raised more than $3.6 million for the KK Hospital Health Endowment Fund, extending a helping hand to foot the hospital bills for about 100 children every year suffering from cancer, HIV and chronic diseases. Thanks to the Kidz Horizon Appeal, • almost all children in Singapore with HIV receive financial assistance for their medical treatment from Kidz Horizon Appeal • children with cancer and other chronic diseases receive financial help • the Play Therapy Programme at KKH is run to help paediatric patients cope with the experience of being hospitalised


A nine-person team at the Changi General Hospital has spruced up therapy procedures so patients with knee problems can recover faster.

The team at work


hose suffering from a common knee problem used to require between six to 12 sessions of physiotherapy at the Changi General Hospital (CGH) to feel some significant improvement. But a nine-man team led by senior physiotherapist at the CGH Sports Medicine Centre, Ms Shamsynar Ani, have managed to tweak the process so these patients, who have Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome, enjoy even greater improvement in just two sessions. This means that they may feel less pain around their kneecaps, and find it easier to take part in their daily activities such as climbing stairs and light exercises to keep fit. The problem before was this: “Injured patients are assessed by different healthcare professionals at different stages of the injury. Patients were thus often overwhelmed and confused as to the seemingly ‘conflicting advice’. Plus, the multi-factorial nature of Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome made diagnosis even more challenging,” said Ms Shamsynar.

The changes put in place included: • Improving lines of communication between various healthcare professionals so there is mutual consensus and a standardised therapy regime. The team emphasised on combined in-service, multidisciplinary research and case studies/discussions, • Re-designating the roles of the sports trainer and therapy assistants so they are able to assist the physiotherapists. • Bringing up key issues relating to the multi-factorial nature of patella femoral pain syndrome, so there is a better outcome from just one therapy session. Added Ms Shamsynar: “This translates to faster recovery for the patient, reduced therapy sessions thereby reducing medical expenses and for CGH, increased staff morale and overall satisfaction.” CPIP is organised by SingHealth Clinical Governance & Quality Management. For more information, visit http://mysinghealth/ Singhealth/CorporateOffice/QM/Programmes/cpip.




me+LIVING 28

At Home With…

& Ms Hong Sook Fern

Dr Darren Tay

How boy meets girl always makes a good story. In this one, love bloomed along the corridors of the National Heart Centre when orthopaedic surgeon Darren Tay met physiotherapist Hong Sook Fern. By Sher Maine Wong


his story begins in the year 2000 when 23-year-old physiotherapist Hong Sook Fern was on call in the National Heart Centre’s high-dependency Ward 56. Straight out of school and brimming with fervour, she was indignant when she spotted a young man in bermudas and a tatty T-shirt reading off a patient’s chart. Said Ms Hong: “I thought to myself: Who is this family member? How can he be reading the patient’s case notes?” She took away the notes and told the man sternly: if you want to know more, ask the nurse. The man smiled sheepishly and did not protest. Ms Hong continued. “I felt very good, like I had upheld justice.” Until the nurse told her that the subject of her reprimand was the doctor. Ten years later, Dr Darren Tay Keng Jin, who is now Ms Hong’s husband, is mock-indignant at


her account: “I cannot remember that incident and I’m going to deny it.” But both clearly remember their next encounter: Dr Tay came to Ms Hong’s rescue when she activated an emergency Code Blue for a patient in the cardiothoracic surgery ward, who required immediate resuscitation. Dr Tay saved the patient and his standing in her eyes. Today they still work in the same campus where they met and courted. Dr Tay, 34, is an associate consultant at the SGH department of orthopaedic surgery, while Ms Hong, 33, is a senior physiotherapist at the National Heart Centre Singapore’s cardiac rehabilitation and preventive cardiology department. Work may have thrown them together but it is not what binds them. In fact, the two seldom discuss work. And from all appearances, they had little background in common. Dr Tay grew up in a bungalow and was driven to school. Ms Hong grew up in a three-room flat. She said: “My father always told me and my sister that he could only support us up until junior college, and the rest was up to us.” What they shared was a love for exercise and simple pleasures in life. The couple would play pool or jog together, starting out at 4am from Dr Tay’s home near Braddell Road to his army camp in Pasir Ris. Said Ms Hong: “We would run down old Tampines Road, which has a lot of old temples. It’s quite lovely and romantic with an oldworld charm in the early morning.” Waiting for and taking public transport was how they bonded. Ms Hong would even help Dr Tay to spruce up his army gear. “We would polish his boots together. I was in the National Cadet Corp last time, I have standards OK!” laughed Ms Hong. “We just enjoyed very simple pleasures.” That they still enjoy each other’s company is apparent. During the interview at the vintage one-storey bungalow house where the couple stay with Dr Tay’s parents, his sisters and a dog, the teasing is spontaneous. On the time he saw her activating the Code Blue,


me+LIVING 30

Dr Tay said: “I saw this girl frantically running around like a headless chicken.” On his proposal, Dr Tay said: “I proposed to her at the Marriot Hotel. We were having the buffet and when she went up to get food for the tenth time, I put the ring under her napkin.” Quipped Ms Hong: “Very boring, nothing scream-worthy.” They got married in 2003. What the couple are most proud of, however, are their five-year-old fraternal twin sons. Justin and Ryan are charmers who, when not bouncing around the garden, show off their drawings and are effortless conversationalists. The couple also share joy in their Christian religion and doing community work. Each quarter, they head out to Batam with a group of a doctors to dispense what

Ms Hong calls “family medicine”. She said: “We see patients with flus, coughs, headlice and also dispense vitamin C. Community work has become a habit for us. It humbles us to see villagers braving the rain for some Panadol. It’s God’s calling for us to help.” Dr Tay is also a volunteer at the Handicaps Welfare Association while Ms Hong flies to Vietnam twice a year to rehabilitate those who were victims of Agent Orange, a herbicide which caused severe disabilities and death. Said Ms Hong: “Together, we bring out the best in each other. He brought out more confidence in me and I’d like to think I brought out his caring side.” This is the 10th year of their love story. Added Ms Hong, thoughtfully: “It’s God’s blessing that we met each other.”

About Dr Darren Tay Keng Jin

About Ms Hong Sook Fern

When it came to choosing a medical career, it was almost a no-brainer for Dr Darren Tay, who comes from medical pedigree.

Ms Hong was a windsurfer who discovered the world of physiotherapy after she sustained an injury and required treatment.

His father, Professor Tay Boon Keng, CMB International at SingHealth, is a renowned orthopaedic surgeon, who chairs the medical board of SingHealth International Office, mother Susan Quek is a cardiologist in private practice and his two sisters work in plastic surgery and psychology. “I grew up in SGH and I even studied for my O levels there,” said Dr Tay. “I never seriously considered other professions outside of medicine. As a child I would attend functions and everyone there was a doctor.” He specialises in knee reconstruction. “I enjoy doing what I do as it makes an impact on someone’s life, literally helping them to get back on their feet,” he said.

She took up a bursary to study physiotherapy at the Nanyang Polytechnic. She went on to complete her bachelor’s degree and master’s at the University of Sydney, and now specialises in the rehabilitation of cardiac patients and the elderly population. “I try to help them regain their function in life,” she said. “What I do helps with their quality of life which is very important.”

me+LIVING 31

Teh Time


ver been to a prata shop and found yourself confused by the different kinds of tea available on the menu? To top it off, the names are not in English and you are left guessing what tea to order. Fret no more! me+SH shares with you some of the more popular tea varieties prata shops offer.

Teh Tarik

By Lee Yuen Mei

‘Tarik’ means ‘pull’ in Malay, and teh translates to ‘tea’. Teh Tarik is a tea drink made with either condensed or evaporated milk. The milk tea is then ‘pulled’ by successively pouring the tea from one container to another and back. The longer it is ‘pulled’, the more frothy and flavourful the tea is. ‘Pulling’ also serves to cool down the tea so that when it is served, the temperature is just right for drinking. For coffee drinkers, you may want to opt for Kopi Tarik.

Teh Halia This is teh tarik with ginger. Traditionally, old ginger imported from Indonesia is used. The ginger is cleaned, peeled and ground into very fine powder. It is added to the teh and ‘pulled’. Variations: Teh O Halia (ginger tea without milk), Halia Limau (ginger lime)

Teh O Ice Limau The name may look complicated and it could be a handful to pronounce, but when translated, Teh O Ice Limau is the popular ice lemon tea. What differentiates Teh O Ice Limau from ice lemon tea is that Teh O Ice Limau is freshly brewed while ice lemon tea is the can version.

Teh Cino

Places to get your tea fix! Rafee’s Corner #02-85 Amoy Street Food Centre

Think of tea made in the same manner as cappuccino and served at a prata shop, and you get the Teh Cino. It is milk tea topped with lots of frothed milk that gives it a two-toned look. Variations: Kopi Cino, Horlicks Cino, Milo Cino

A M Mohamed Haniffa Hot & Cold Drinks #01-320 Tekka Market and Food Centre

Teh Tongkat Ali

Mr Teh Tarik Cartel #01-12 Tiong Bahru Plaza

Tongkat Ali is a medicinal root taken from a tree native to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Aside from being a known aphrodisiac, it is believed to be good for treating acne and constipation. Teh Tongkat Ali is thus milk tea with the medicinal root. Variation: Kopi Tongkat Ali

Ya-Mahyuddin Al-Jailani Restaurant Pte Ltd 89 Kampong Bahru Road, #01-01



ow back pain is one of the most common pain disorders today. It is a chronic condition characterised by a persistent dull or sharp pain in the lower back, affecting about 80% of the adult population in the course of their lives.



The Specialists:


Dr. Benedict Peng Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Orthopaedic Surgery, Singapore General Hospital

Specialists from Health Xchange answer questions on low back pain.

Ms. Karen Koh Senior Principal Physiotherapist Singapore General Hospital




Dr Peng: It is difficult to determine if your colleague needs surgery based on the MRI report alone. Based on the report, if there is spinal cord damage, she should be seen by a Spine Specialist to check her signs and symptoms and interpret her MRI scans accordingly. If she requires surgery, the specialist will be able to advise. Before proceeding with surgery, investigations will be performed to determine if she is fit for operation.

Karen: Swimming or water-based exercises such as aqua aerobics are generally a safer form of exercise for someone with low back pain. The buoyancy of the water does not load the joints and discs of the back as compared to weight bearing exercise such as running. Stretches performed as a form of warm up prior to exercise are usually targeted at muscles that will be used during the course of the exercises. Each stretch should be performed to the point when tightness is experienced in the muscle and held for 10 seconds and repeated 3-5 times.

Dr Peng: About 80% of pregnant women have back pain. The expanding uterus shifts the weight of the body and stretches and weakens the abdominal muscles, changing the posture and putting strain on the back. The increased weight also means the muscles have to work harder and the joints are stressed. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may loosen the joints and ligaments causing pain on movement, standing and sitting for long periods. Appropriate rest, standard back exercises and medication can help with the pain.

My colleague is 56 years old with severe back pain for the past 3 years. According to her MRI report, she has a bruised spine, and damage on the spinal cord. She consulted the local doctors, took pills regularly and also tried massaging and physiotherapy to no avail. Should my colleague go for a surgery? Is it safe to have a surgery at the age of 56? Kindly advise. - Siew Eng Lim

My husband has been complaining of low back pain. He exercises regularly and runs at least once a week and I’m concerned that this may aggravate the situation. What’s the best or safest form of exercise for someone with back pain? I heard that stretching exercises are important as warm up but what type and how? - Reimee Doh

My sister-in-law is pregnant. She is currently in her second trimester and she complains of too much back pain. What could be the reason for the back pain she is facing? Is this back pain so serious that it should be treated by medication or is this common during the pregnancy? - Hammie Yeo

Health Xchange Meet The Specialists Forum is an online interactive forum with special focus on different health topics each month where members can send in questions to be answered by panel of Specialists from across SingHealth institutions. For more answers to your healthcare queries, visit

and out.


Running Running is the most common form of exercise in the world. That also means there are also a lot of injuries related to jogging or running. Most injuries are from overuse – muscles and joints starting to hurt and eventually become injured because of exertion and neglect.

Dr Jason Chia, sports medicine physician with the CGH Department of Sports Medicine, gives us a few tips on preventing injuries from jogging and golf.



Dr Chia on choosing the right running shoes

• Pace yourself when running; do not push yourself too hard • Exercise at regular periods, maybe with a proper timetable • Wear running shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for your type of running routine • Find a running technique and stick to it • Do not drastically increase your distance ran • Allow adequate rest before your next run

Golf It is quite easy to get injured playing golf because of the nature of the sport – fast rapid swings and strain to the back and core muscles. Most of the injuries I see are results of bad posture, poor trunk flexibility, insufficient core strength and overuse. • Take time to warm up before playing • Learn your strokes and adapt proper techniques before jumping into the game • For novices, get instructions under a qualified coach • Consider flexibility and core strength training

Terrain: Cross country shoes have better grip and support for more weight.

Size: Shoe fitting is best done with running socks and in the afternoon. Allow one thumb’s space when fully laced and more room if you need orthotics.

Running Style: New Balance and Newton are some of the manufacturers who have created shoes specifically for mid-foot / fore-foot runners.

Fit: Visit a podiatrist to get a clear measure of your foot type or if you suffer from foot conditions like bunions or flat-footedness.

Support: Running shoes should come with a firm heel counter, torsional support (the shoe should resist attempts to flex it along its length) and have sufficient flexibility at the forefoot to fold upwards towards where the ball of the feet is.

me+SMILES 34

of SingHealth We’ve seen them tearing down the waters of Kallang, but do you know what it takes to become one of the members of the SingHealth Dragonboat team?


hen one thinks of Dragonboat racing, you would associate it with men with rippling 60-centimetre biceps powering themselves down a narrow strait, the waves their adversary and vigor their strongest weapon. “Not so,” says Mahmood Idrose, captain of the SingHealth Dragonboat team, “40cm can already!” Humour aside, it’s really team spirit that pulls it through. Mahmood confesses that they do not get as much training as they want to, but even that didn’t stop them from clinching third place in the Singapore 5-boat competition in October last year. “It’s not just a sport, but also a group dynamic training. Teamwork and coordination are key,” explained the Dragonboat veteran of more than 15 years. So what else do they do to build camaraderie? “Go makan of course!”

There’s more to Dragonboating than the possession of superhuman strength. Mahmood clues us in on the different members on the boat. Drummer He is the heartbeat of the boat, sounding out to synchronise the strokes of the members with that of the Pacer. Often found with a good set of lungs and a penchant for rhythm.

Pacer Agile and fit, the Pacer is usually smaller in build than the rest of the rowers. This gives the boat a right tilt. A good Pacer is able to coordinate with his counterpart to set the rowing pace for the rest of the boat, going faster or slower when needed.

Support Rowers These guys follow the pace set by the Pacers and move the boat towards the finish line. Often able to keep in coordination and understand the commands given out by the Pacers and Drummers.

Engine Room This is where the myth of the 60-centimetre biceps originates. Because of the upward tilt of the boat to reduce drag, the Engine Room members need to make complete pulls with their paddles instead of the quick thrusts of the other members, and so requires more strength and stamina than the rest of the rowers.

Coxswain The major muscle used for the Coxswain is the brain. Usually the most experienced member of the team, the Coxswain analyses the situation of the race and steers the boat to victory.

Do you think you have what it takes to be a SingHealth Dragon? Send your particulars to

Distributed by IDS Marketing Pte Ltd


SingHealth Changing Lives


ere is the list of beneficiaries who benefitted from the generosity of SingHealth staff in this year’s President’s Challenge. Thank you to all who contributed and played a part in improving the lives of the less fortunate.

36 1.

Singapore Anglican Community Services


Students Care Service


Persatuan Pemudi Islam Singapura


Singapore Children’s Society


Teck Ghee Youth Centre


Food From the Heart


Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation


Yong-En Care Centre


Ain Society


Society for the Physically Disabled


Life Community Services Society


MILK (Mainly I Love Kids)


Lakeside Family Centre


Rainbow Centre


Community Chest


Yellow Ribbon Fund


Singapore After-care Association


Bright Vision Hospital


Action for AIDS


Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore)


Beyond Social Services


Methodist Welfare Services


Islamic Theological Association of Singapore (PERTAPIS)


Young Men’s Christian Association of Singapore


Very Special Arts Singapore Ltd


Canossaville Children’s Home


St Andrew’s Community Hospital


Boys’ Town


Autism Resource Centre (Singapore)


Shan You Counselling Centre


Autism Association (Singapore)


Muhammadiyah Welfare Home


Dyslexia Association of Singapore


Woodlands Social Centre


Association for Persons with Special Needs


Christian Outreach to the Handicapped


National Arthritis Foundation


1. What are the names of the SingHealth staff sent to Indonesia by SHRP in October last year? 2. Name one change made to the EXSA training modules by the SingHealth Academy team. 3. Name three of the 14 forces of Magnetism.

Three lucky winners who get all the questions correct will each receive a $20 gourmet coffee voucher from Highlander Coffee.

Email your answers (together with your name, designation, institution, department and contact number) to by 24 February 2010.

Here are the answers to the last ISSUE’S quiz:

Q1. Q2. Q3.

How many different Allied Health professions are featured in this issue of me+SH? Ans: 6 Which two SingHealth institutions celebrated their 10th Anniversary this year? Ans: NCCS and NNI Which SingHealth staff won the Worldskills International Competition 2009? Ans: Carol Choo, Enrolled Nurse

And here are the three lucky winners!

1 Nurmarlyna Binte Abd Razak, Administrative Assistant, SGH 2 Lu Chee Yuen, Radiographer, NHCS 3 Goh Lee Huang, Senior HR System Specialist, SGH Each of them will receive a 45min Tension Relief Body Massage worth $88 from Symphonie! me+SH will be contacting the winners shortly with prize collection details.

We hear you! me+SH continuously seeks improvement by engaging our readers. Thank you for sharing your views, and keep those suggestions coming.


ack in October 2009, we invited our contributors and readers to join us in our special me+SH Halloween. The pumpkin carving competition left its mark on participants, but more importantly, readers and editorial team got to know one another better. Here are some of the things we heard at our first readers’ circle!

Your favourite things to read about

ers Oth

Ci r cu


L a yo

ion lat


would you like me+SH to improve?


Staff stories from a personal angle


SingHealth professionals and their work


Advice and tips


Photo spreads


Special features on particular topics

Things you’d like to see in me+SH 1 Staff contributions 2 Articles bringing institutions together 3 Behind the scenes in the production of me+SH 4 Colourful pages without too many words 5 Light-hearted articles about interesting topics and people


for me+SH Who do you think has the most important job at your institution? Or who do you most want to know about? Share your story idea and win a S$40 shopping voucher. If me+SH turns your idea into a story for print, you walk away with the prize. To top it off, your colleague who gets featured will also receive a S$40 shopping voucher. Email us at today!!

me+SH (Jan-Feb 2010)  

In our first issue of 2010, we brew up new possibilities in healthcare with campus renewal and the nursing Magnet journey.

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