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MAY — JUNE 2010 IN THIS ISSUE

SINGHEALTH STAFF SURVEY Plant A Wish For Tomorrow We Are One Family

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A SingHealth Staff Publication


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me + Spotlight

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34 Healthy feet = happy feet

14 Residing in medical greatness

CONTENTS

16 Integrated risk management – towards safer healthcare 18 Auld lang syne, Vickers’ House 20 Fortitude and hope

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22 Looking at life through special lenses

me + Group

24 Improving treatment of depression 25 Charting a patient-centric path

01 Foreword by Dr Adrian Ee

26 All in a day’s work

02 On the cover

27 One HR system

03 We’re 10 and growing! 04 Plant a wish for tomorrow 06 SingHealth staff speak

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09 Forged from gold

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10 GIA takes on larger role in public healthcare

me + Horizon

10 Credit to SEMC 11 Behind the scenes

36 Story ideas for me+SH

12 Vibrant Campus – SingHealth inspires visiting Health Minister

36 Contest 28

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13 Vibrant Campus – growing with NHCS

me + Living

28 At home with Dr Derek Tse 31 Chicken or rice? 32 Desktop dilemma

SingHealth Editorial Team Tan-Huang Shuo Mei Amelia Champion Katheryn Maung Arthur Wong

Pepper Global Alvin Ee Ariel Chew Michael Koek Candice Tang 75B Pagoda Street Singapore 059234 Tel: +65 6221 1286 Photographer for cover, staff survey and home feature: Tang Xiao Wen Copywriter: Monica Lim, Angele Lee and Sher Maine Wong

Patients. At the Heart of All We Do. Members of the SingHealth Group

me+SingHealth or me+SH (pronounced /mesh/) 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.

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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) 094/04/2010


Guest Editor

We Are One Family

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n our hectic and competitive society, we tend to focus on our own needs and activities, neglecting the people around us, both at work and at home. Yet, it is our family whom we turn to for support in hard times and who share our joy when we succeed. My family is my life. Having a place to live is Home, having a Family to love is a Blessing! I have two young children so it is especially important that our family is nurturing and balanced, with a healthy dose of guidance and discipline. I believe a family that is happy, cohesive and caring will influence the people around it too. As a Family Physician, I see all types of patients – from the very young (a few weeks old) to the elderly. Nothing encourages me more than seeing the patient’s family actively working together with our doctors to improve the health of the patient. SingHealth Polyclinics has a significant role in enhancing family Medicine and bridging the gaps in community care. Together with SingHealth, we have grown from strength to strength, united by our mission to the serve the community. This mission remains foremost as we prepare for the future and define tomorrow’s Medicine. Caring for the community is at the core of all that we do at SingHealth. This year, it is SHP’s privilege to organise the SingHealth Group’s annual charity event for President’s Challenge.

Dr Adrian Ee Director, Clinical & Corporate Services, SingHealth Polyclinics Adjunct Assistant Professor, Family Medicine Clerkship Director, Medical Informatics, SingHealth Polyclinics

The theme is “We Are One Family” as we celebrate SingHealth’s 10th anniversary in 2010. It captures the essence of what the SingHealth family is about and highlights the importance of building a harmonious family and cohesive community. Through the dedication and support of every member of the SingHealth family, we can meet the needs of the less privileged and help the beneficiaries of President’s Challenge 2010. So SingHealth Family - let us reach out as One, to support the outreach activities of President’s Challenge 2010! Look out for regular updates via email and your institution’s intranet.


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On the cover We celebrate the voices of staff in this issue of me+SH. Flip the pages to read about what it feels to be 10 years old at SingHealth and its institutions. Hear from staff on their wishes for tomorrow’s healthcare. Listen to the views of staff through the results of the SingHealth Employee Survey 2010. And find out from this issue’s cover models how they feel about work and life as me+SH celebrates its second birthday as the voice of staff.

1. Mr Kwok Boon Chong Physiotherapist, SGH It’s great to be a physiotherapist at SGH. The broad base of patients gives me good exposure to different conditions. I feel that there is plenty of space for me to grow as a person and to hone my skills. The strong emphasis on continuing education and training is definitely a plus point.

I am as old as me+SH, having been here for two years. Happy birthday, me+SH! I will continue to try to read every page of every issue as I believe a lot of work goes into the publication.

2. Ms Janet Low Assistant Manager, Group Communications, SingHealth It has been a fulfilling two years at SingHealth. As part of my job, I have the opportunity to interact with our healthcare staff, step into their shoes and be touched by their passion and dedication to their profession. It gives me great satisfaction to “shout” about the good work that they do so that more people get to learn about them and appreciate their unrelenting efforts in enhancing patient care.

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As me+SH and I celebrate our second year in SingHealth, I wish that we’ll both develop and grow with the organisation, and continue to make a difference and enrich lives.

3. Dr Rohit Khurana Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, NHCS I have lived in the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA and have now been in Singapore for the last six months, with NHCS. The work environment here is very friendly, supportive and professional. I admire the positive morale and dedication of my colleagues, nursing and allied health professionals. I am proud to be part of Singapore’s enthusiasm about pushing forward innovation and progressing healthcare technology, whilst maintaining a constant emphasis on patient care. My wish is for SingHealth to be as successful in the next decade as its track record and to remain

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at the leading edge for healthcare nationally and internationally. As for me+SH, I wish to see its pages filled with more exciting news, progress and chart successful SingHealth milestones in the future.

4. Ms Tan Beng Le Advanced Practice Nurse, NCCS I have been with NCCS for 10 years. Happy 10th anniversary to both SingHealth and myself! Over the years, I have taken on different roles in nursing and have also had the opportunity to further my studies. It has been a busy but fulfilling decade.

To me+SH, I say ‘keep up the good job’. I like reading about what colleagues in SingHealth are doing and the activities that are going on in the Group.


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We’re 10 and grow ng! The Present: SingHealth celebrates a decade of success. The Future: To be the best academic cluster and beyond the shores of Singapore. “We’ve laid a solid fertile foundation and now we build on our strengths and invest in the future,” said Prof Tan Ser Kiat, Group CEO, SingHealth, at the much anticipated celebration of SingHealth’s 10th anniversary on 15 April 2010. This took place at the heart of SGH Campus, where it all began. As the sun shone over Bowyer Block, a large group of SingHealth staff from its nine institutions gathered to join Prof Tan in a symbolic planting of a Tembusu sapling to mark the birthday of SingHealth. 10 representatives, each with at least 10 years of service, came forth to water the Tembusu. The ceremony is a reflection of the unity and strength of the SingHealth family as we continue our journey in defining tomorrow’s Medicine. As part of this journey, a campaign to gather

the wishes of staff on tomorrow’s healthcare was launched. It took off with staff writing their wishes on leaves and putting them up on a tree model at the event. Said Prof Ivy Ng, Deputy CEO, SingHealth, “My wish for SingHealth (SHS) is Seamless Healthcare expertise Serving every patient through every stage of their lives.” All SingHealth staff can also Plant A Wish and read the wishes of colleagues on the microsite on our intranet - http://mysinghealth. As we celebrate a decade of success, we also hear from some of our staff on the ties that bind the SingHealth family: Good leadership has kept me here. The many challenges along the way have stimulated my thinking and kept me interested in my work, and also being able to provide a listening ear to patients. Kalaichelvi d/o Veerappan, Administrative Assistant, Surgical Oncology, NCCS

The family-friendly environment, being able to constantly upgrade and good staff benefits... these plus the constant renewal of policies to keep up with the times. Maria Thangamany, Executive, Diabetic & Food Services, CGH

We are a big organisation and there is a lot to learn here and many opportunities for upgrading. I also enjoy getting to meet people and working with many different colleagues. Kristie Leong Yean Ling, Senior Dental Surgery Assistant, NDC

For me, an important aspect is the personal interactions and relationships in the workplace. In my 10 years with SingHealth, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Group Procurement Office (GPO) staff who have worked exceptionally well as a team with consistent cooperation, commitment, cohesiveness and continuity. One remarkable manifestation of cohesiveness and continuity is that GPO Pharma has effectively no attrition (aside from a couple of transfers within SingHealth) in its 10-year history! Mrs Chan Ek Huar, Director, GPO (Pharmaceutical), SingHealth

The Significance of a Tree It was not by chance that the Tembusu, whose scientific name is Fagraea fragrans, was chosen to be the tree planted at SingHealth’s 10th anniversary. A mature Tembusu is a majestic tree that reaches a height of 40 to 50 metres. It represents how SingHealth as a group will grow – from strength to strength. It has a sprawling canopy that provides good shelter for staff and patients. It signifies the expanse of what we do and the vast opportunities for us to innovate and pursue research. Its many golden fruits represent the many generations of healthcare professionals we educate and nurture.

Left to right: Mrs Chan Ek Huar, Dr Lim Kiat Hon, Ms Lim Peng Hoon, Ms Maria Thangamany, Ms Kalaichelvi d/o Veerappan, Prof Tan Ser Kiat, Dr Hwang Siew Wai, Ms Grace Lim, Ms Chan Wai Yee, Ms Foo Lee Lian and Ms Kristie Leong]

Hardy and resilient, the trunk and branches can withstand the strongest elements of nature. This symbolises our strength and ability to withstand challenges, such as H1N1 and SARS, together. The Tembusu is a mark of strength and growth in our journey to define tomorrow’s Medicine.


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Plant a wish for tomorrow… As we celebrate SingHealth’s 10th anniversary, we also forge ahead in our journey to define tomorrow’s Medicine. me+SH finds out what wishes some of our colleagues have for the future of healthcare at SingHealth.

“May we all, like the roots of the Tembusu tree, draw nourishment to serve better from the fertile soils of self-motivation and learning opportunities; like the branches of the Tembusu tree, support patients and colleagues in need of our care; like the leaves of the Tembusu tree, be a source of energy to inspire more to join our profession, and protective shelter of care to the less fortunate.”

“My wish is for SingHealth to grow stronger in all fields, be a market leader in the healthcare industry in Singapore, embark in the advancement of healthcare services and most of all, to always put Patients At The Heart of All We Do.”

make better-informed choices.” Keith Tan, Senior Medical Social Worker, SGH

“I wish that SingHealth will continue to help staff to become more skilful and knowledgeable by providing relevant training and workshops. In that way, we can also provide better service to our patients.”

Monica Lim, Senior Executive, Chronic Disease Management Office, SingHealth

Lynette Gatdula, Staff Nurse, Ward 44, NHCS

“My wish is for society to benefit from a new generation of doctors with good training and medical knowledge, even better than before.”

“More inter-hospital gatherings, exchange of information, new skills and knowledge among nurses within the SingHealth institutions.”

June Lee, Anatomy Technologist, SingHealth Academy

“At the moment I’d say most families are just not equipped to handle their aged with enough consideration. A popular option is to put them into homes for the elderly, which often is not ideal. My wish is not so much for better education on aging, but perhaps for increased awareness of the conditions that come with aging, so that families can

Leong Yoke Yin, Senior Nurse Manager, CGH

“May SingHealth be the leading provider of healthcare in Singapore and continue to excel in the future to expand our healthcare services to other parts of the world.” Daphne Low Poh Ying, SNEC


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“My wish is for SingHealth to grow stronger in all fields, be a market leader in the healthcare industry in Singapore, embark in the advancement of healthcare services and most of all, to always put Patients At The Heart of All We Do.” Chua Shu Li, Assistant Accountant, Financial Planning & Analysis, KKH

“I wish that all staff are healthy with good BMI indication. We could achieve this by providing facilities such as a gym workout area to encourage staff to exercise during lunch-hour or after work.“ Chew Lian Hoi, Senior Staff Nurse, Geylang Polyclinic, SHP

“My wish is for SingHealth to grow to greater heights and success!” Rosie Kwan, Senior Nurse Manager, Ward 73, SGH “My wish is for an even more cohesive SingHealth.” Dr Kwa Chong Teck, Executive Director, NDC “For terrific synergy between our institutions.” Dr Patrick J. Casey, Senior Vice Dean, Research, Duke-NUS

What improvements would you like to see in healthcare? How can SingHealth and staff contribute to these improvements? Plant a wish for tomorrow and you could reap what you sow. Three lucky individuals will walk away with iPods, and departments which submit ten wishes collectively get to enjoy a birthday cake. Log on to the SingHealth Desktop Portal (http://mysinghealth) to plant your wish and check out the wishes by staff.


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SingHealth Staff Speak “We are all ears. Share your views.” Most of us would be familiar with the campaign to encourage staff to take part in the SingHealth Employee Survey 2010. me+SH brings you the scoop on the survey results. BY Jeanie Cheah The inaugural SingHealth Employee Survey which took place in January this year involved most SingHealth institutions, and some 14,000 staff. An average response rate of over 80 per cent was achieved by each institution, and SingHealth corporate office topped the list with a resounding 93 per cent response rate.

Overall Response Rate Entity Outgoing Returns Response Rate (%) SingHealth Cluster

13,829

11,512

83%

KKH

4,136

3,582

87%

NCC

699

525

75%

The response rate of a survey cannot be over emphasised as it is what validates the results of the survey. The better the rate, the more representative it is of staff opinions. An 80 per cent response rate far exceeds the typical rate of 70 to 75 per cent for an organisation as big as SingHealth.

NDC

355

290

82%

NHC

782

673

86%

NNI

217

195

90%

SERI

145

133

92%

SGH

6,660

5,362

81%

SNEC

483

425

88%

Said Deputy CEO Prof Ivy Ng, “The high response rate shows that our people believe that we will act on the feedback we receive. It also reflects their

Corporate Office

352

327

93%

From left: Ms Zalina Bte Moktar, Patient Services Clerk, NDC; Dr Catherine Cox, Psychologist, KKH and Mr Poon Phakhey, Senior Staff Nurse, SNEC


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Top Ranking Categories Organisational image

86%

Vision, mission and core values

87% Working conditions & occupational health

Employee engagement

82%

85%

Work organisation

80%

comprising more than 90,000 employee responses.

Aside from saving cost, this cluster-wide initiative creates a set of common benchmarks for our institutions which will grow in usefulness over the longer term. The aggregated report will allow SingHealth to address the common issues collectively as a cluster. Institutions which have done well in particular categories can share their practices with those with less favourable performance.

Our scores are above the national norms by at least eight points in each of these categories.

As a group, SingHealth has also fared well against global healthcare norms in the data bank of Towers Watson, the experts who carried out the survey. Most categories had a positive edge over the global benchmarks. The data comes from 42 companies comprising more than 86,000 employee responses. Significantly, 18 areas were above Singapore national norms in the data bank of Towers Watson, which is culled from 113 companies

Over the next few months, the following activities will be taking place to follow through on the feedback provided: 1. Each institution/division/ department will receive an individual report 2. A ‘Results-to-action’ workshop will be held for department heads/managers 3. Focus groups will be held with staff to clarify and address top issues

commitment in wanting to make SingHealth the best place to work at.”

Of the 18 aspects of work surveyed, five categories achieved favourable responses of over 80 per cent while the majority of the remaining categories garnered over 70 per cent.

Next Steps

4. An action plan to address issues will be formulated and shared with staff 5. Regular feedback will be given to staff on the actions taken

SingHealth Cluster Overall Fared Better Than Towers Watson Singapore National Norm Favourable Scores

Differences From Benchmark

Career Advancement

72

12

Work Organisation

80

11

Organisational Image

86

10

Management

75

10

Performance Appraisal

78

9

Communication

73

9

Rewards & Recognition

52

9

Vision, Mission & Core Values

87

7

Working Conditions & Occupational Health

86

7

Customer Focus

79

6

Direct Supervision

78

6

Working Relationships

77

6

Training & Development

65

6

Quality Improvement

71

5

Employee Engagement

82

4

Job Satisfaction

76

4

Innovation

68

4

Work-Life Balance

68

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WORK-LIFE HARMONY

Hear from SingHealth staff on what makes an innovative culture and work-life harmony

To me, a good integration of work and life situation is where I can meet the demands in both work and family/personal areas. That I don’t feel torn and worried, say about a family member needing my attention, while at work and that I have this mutual understanding with my supervisor and colleagues that I will do my best while at work but there will be times when I need to take time off work to see to personal matters. — Ms Phuan Lee Choo, Director, Human Resource, NHCS

An innovative culture An innovative culture is inculcated when one is encouraged to explore new and uncharted ways to find the most effective solution, always keeping in mind the common goal. In addition, the means to achieve this is made easy and well within the reach of the individual within this subculture. — Dr Arjandas Mahadev, Senior Consultant, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, KKH An openness to new ideas. A boss who is willing to try the unknown, provides cheerleading during times of implementation and is supportive even in times of failure. Employees who are excited about their job, and believe that the future will be created by themselves – not by outside sources. A common belief that innovation is a way of life, and it is the key to survival. Resources set aside and readily available for all who want to try something new. A company that rewards innovation,

and bases their rewards on innovation, more than seniority or experience. — Dr Tan Teing Ee, Senior Consultant, Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, NHCS An innovative culture is one where • Staff initiate the sharing of ideas to improve their work or processes without the supervisor’s encouragement to do so • Staff and management share the same vision and goals in a highly motivated environment •

There is a high level of staff participation (including senior management) in innovation related activities with strong evidence of staff-driven innovative initiatives implemented in the organisation

— Goh Yen Ling, Assistant Manager Quality Improvement Unit - Division of Operations & Performance Management, SGH

Balancing work and life takes continuous efforts and starts with your own perceptions and from your heart. If work plays a big part in my life, I just tell myself that I am going to try and LOVE and ENJOY every bit of my work, so that it doesn’t feel like work anymore, but something that you really enjoy doing, like a hobby! One important principle I have adopted is to ‘Never bring work to home, nor home to work!’ and even if I consider myself a workaholic, I would want to say, ‘Get a Life! Go do something that you like once a while so that you can feel energised!’ — Ms Charmaine Soon, Senior Research Officer, Office of Clinical Studies, NNI A family-friendly environment with supportive colleagues and flexibility. I look forward to more employeefriendly initiatives. — Audrey Tong, Executive, Events & Programmes, Public Education (Cancer Education & Information Service), NCCS

Note of Appreciation to all Staff Thank you for sharing your views. You have made the SingHealth Employee Survey 2010 a success!


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NTUC confers the highest May Day commendation for senior management on SingHealth Group CEO Prof Tan Ser Kiat. We celebrate his achievement and look at the many contributions he has made in advancing staff development.

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he annual NTUC May Day Awards honours individuals and organisations who have made significant impact on the trade union movement. With up to nine categories given out each year, the winners of this prestigious award have all left their mark in the areas of employees’ workfare and welfare development.

“Prof Tan’s contributions to SingHealth are immeasurable. With his leadership, the organisation has made tremendous strides towards being a world-class institution for both our staff and our patients. It is an honour to have nominated him for this prestigious award,” said Madmood Idrose, President of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU).

At the top of the list is the Medal of Commendation (Gold) award. This is presented to senior management personnel who continue to make significant contributions towards promoting and supporting the well-being of their staff for an additional five years after receiving the Medal of Commendation award.

His commitment for staff welfare saw the introduction of flexible work hours for SingHealth staff, as well the newly introduced enhanced premiums for night shift and second shift staff. To thank his staff for their devotion to their work, he has spearheaded timely incentives to recognise their efforts, like in the recent H1N1 outbreak.

This year, the coveted award goes to our Group CEO, Prof Tan Ser Kiat. Doctor, educator, leader and mentor, Prof Tan has served in public healthcare for more than 39 years. His firm belief in lifelong learning and continuous development has spurred him to introduce many new initiatives to nurture and empower staff.

Under Prof Tan’s leadership, SingHealth adopted the ADVANTAGE! Scheme, implemented the three-day family care leave and introduced the trailblazing Silver Connection movement. His advocacy of equal employment opportunities and vision of a diverse and multi-generational work force helped SingHealth to clinch the AARP (formally known as the America Association of Retired Persons Award).

Not only were the GCEO Excellence Awards established with his leadership to recognise exemplary staff, the new nurses’ awards and scholarships as well as the Allied Health Innovative Practice Award were also made possible by Prof Tan’s vision to raise the bar on healthcare excellence. He also set up the SingHealth Talent Development Fund to support staff development. In addition, he enabled more overseas learning opportunities for healthcare professionals in the Health Manpower Development Programme (HMDP) through funding by SingHealth Foundation. His close relationship with the healthcare staff union provided the foundation to build a vibrant, conducive environment that promotes the welfare and development of staff.

Our warmest congratulations to Prof Tan Ser Kiat for winning the Medal of Commendation (Gold) award.

“Prof Tan’s contributions to SingHealth are immeasurable. With his leadership, the organisation has made tremendous strides towards being a world-class institution for both our staff and our patients. It is an honour to have nominated him for this prestigious award.” Madmood Idrose, President of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU)


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GIA takes on larger role in public healthcare

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n April, SingHealth Group Internal Audit (GIA) moved to Ministry of Health Holdings (MOHH) to share their expertise and domain knowledge in healthcare audit. We thank them for their invaluable contributions and wish them well in their new role for the larger good of public healthcare. GIA has played a significant role in helping SingHealth build a strong internal control and corporate governance environment through identifying areas where work efficiency, effectiveness and economy in resource utilisation could be enhanced.

2008 They initiated QAR selfassessment in preparation for accreditation under Institute of Internal Auditors 2006 The Risk Management Framework was revamped for more granular risk mitigation prioritisation 2004 They introduced the Enterprise-Wide Risk Management Framework 2002 GIA was a partner in the set-up of SingHealth IT Security Office

me+SH recounts their achievements in SingHealth.

2009 The Enterprise-Wide Best Practice Module was revamped and GIA also launched a User Feedback Form for service excellence 2007 GIA launched Risk Register and Reporting (3R) System 2005 GIA rolled out the Enterprise-Wide Best Practice Module in their Intraweb portal 2003 GIA rolled out their Intraweb portal, a platform for sharing and learning 2000 With the formation of SingHealth, GIA transferred from MOHH to SingHealth

Credit to SEMC

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he SingHealth Experimental Medicine Centre (SEMC) has been awarded Continued Full Accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), with no suggestions for further improvement. Included in the accreditation are the animal facilities at the Duke-NUS Graduate

Medical School and National Cancer Centre Singapore.

before they carried out a thorough on-site assessment.

Said Dr Bryan Ogden, Director, SEMC, “SingHealth’s institutional commitment to achievement and maintenance of AAALAC accreditation ensures that adequate resources are dedicated to the animal care and use programme. The commitment extends to all levels of our organisation. This makes possible our pursuit of excellence.”

After an institution earns accreditation, it must be re-evaluated every three years in order to maintain its accredited status.

The accreditation process includes an extensive internal review during which a comprehensive document called a “Programme Description” describing all aspects of the animal care and use programme (policies, animal housing and management, veterinary care, and facilities) was created. This was submitted to AAALAC for their review

Said Ms Song In Chin, Principal Research Associate at SEMC, “The AAALAC accreditation affirms that we are a facility of international standards, and we know that our institute is dedicated to achieving the highest standards for animal care and use. Working in such an environment has enabled our team to attain better research practices and achieve high quality outcome in research science.” Kudos to the team that works hard and plays hard!


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Beh nd the scenes Everyone has heard of the SingHealth Board, but does anyone really know the crucial role it plays? me+SH gives you an insight to the endeavours of our Board.

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ingHealth’s Board currently comprises 14 appointed members who give guidance to and oversee the policy making of the group and its institutions. Led by Chairman Mr Peter Seah, the Board establishes broad directions and initiatives that will strengthen SingHealth as a leading public healthcare organisation. Each member is appointed for a term of at least three years. Eight Board Committees have been set up to focus on pertinent areas, namely, Audit, Budget and Investment, IT, Property, Research, Risk Oversight, Service Excellence and Staff.

Typically, each committee is chaired by a board member with expertise in that area and has at least one other board member on it. Supported by SingHealth directors, the committees will develop their focus and ideas to be implemented. These will be presented to the Board for its endorsement. To the majority of staff, the Board remains “behind the scenes” although its role has great impact on the organisation. For instance, the Board not only approves the annual budget and ensures the availability of adequate financial resource, it accounts to stakeholders on the organisation’s performance.

SingHealth Board of Directors Chairman Mr Peter Seah Lim Huat  Chairman, DBS Group Holdings & DBS Bank Member, Temasek Advisory Panel Board Members MR Michael B Wood, M.D. President Emeritus, Mayo Foundation & Consultant, Mayo Clinic Mrs ARFAT Selvam Managing Director. Arfat Selvam Alliance LLC Mr Ernest Wong Yuen Weng Member, Temasek Advisory Panel Mrs Christina Ong Managing Director, Club 21 Pte Ltd Mr Chan Heng Kee Chief Executive, Singapore Workforce Development Agency Prof Edward W Holmes Dy Chairman (Translational and Clinical Sciences Group), BMRC, A*STAR & Executive Chairman, NMRC

Ms Yong Ying-I Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health & Chairman, MOH Holdings Pte Ltd Dr Victor J Dzau President & CEO, Duke University Health System and The Chancellor for Health Affairs, Duke University Medical Centre Mr Willie Cheng Jue Hiang Director, Integrated Health Information System Mr Yatiman Yusof Former Member of Parliament and Senior Parliamentary Secretary Mr Philip ENG Heng Nee Company Director, Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd Prof Raj Mohan NAMBIAR Visiting Consultant Surgeon (SGH, AH & TTSH) & Senior Consultant, MOH Mr Gerard EE Hock Kim Chairman, National Kidney Foundation Chairman, Council for Third Age

A big “thank you” to Mr Sum Soon Lim and Dr Beh Swan Gin, who completed their terms on 14 April 2010, for their contributions.

No age barriers me+SH zooms in on an age-friendly master plan by the Service Excellence Committee. Year 2006: 1 in 12 Singapore residents were aged 65 and above Year 2030: 1 in 5 Singapore residents will be aged 65 and above The stark statistic speaks for itself. It is, therefore, no surprise that the Service Excellence Committee, headed by Board Member Mrs Christina Ong, is working on enabling the elderly to navigate and use healthcare services efficiently and effectively. This is one of their tasks to optimise patient experience and satisfaction and to put SingHealth institutions on the ‘A’ list of public healthcare providers in the region. “Age-Friendly” healthcare focuses on action in three major areas: • Improving the attitudes, education and training of healthcare providers • Adapting management systems to the needs of older persons • Making physical access easier for older persons who may have mobility, vision or hearing impairments To achieve this, a five-year plan is being rolled out. This includes a series of “age-sensitisation” workshops to bring to the consciousness of our entire workforce the challenges faced by elderly patients and to mobilise the support of key process owners to improve processes and infrastructure towards being elderly-friendly. SingHealth’s partner for this is Tsao Foundation, known for its thought leadership and expert knowledge on elderly issues and age-sensitisation. The workshops target approximately 2,000 frontliners and 300 process owners across the SingHealth cluster. In the longer term, such training will be integrated into SingHealth’s ‘Living and Managing with 5Cs’ as well as ‘Communication for Clinicians by Clinicians’. Plans are underway to pilot the Staff Outpatient Clinic towards age-friendly practices in a cost-efficient way. A uniquely SingHealth age-friendly guide will also be established with the help of the respective process owners.


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SingHealth inspires visiting Health Minister Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health was given a tour of some of SingHealth’s institutions when he paid a visit on 29 March and 1 April, and he walked away more than impressed. BY ARTHUR WONG lunchtime conversation with SingHealth leaders. After a short introduction to SingHealth and a tour of facilities, Dr Chow was eager to find out more about SingHealth’s research infrastructure.

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hey are old friends whose journey in Medicine took similar paths when they progressed beyond clinician work into healthcare administration. Their busy schedules prevented them from meeting regularly, so when he was due in Singapore for a conference at the Ministry of Health, Dr York Chow, Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health (a role equivalent to Minister for Health) jumped at the opportunity to pay his friend, Group CEO of SingHealth, Prof Tan Ser Kiat, a visit. The two orthopaedic surgeons met at SingHealth on 29 April, where they shared learning experiences over a

showed Dr Chow our Emergency Medicine facilities and wards. The second day saw Dr Chow tour our research facilities at Investigational Medicine Unit and Singapore Eye Research Institute. Our institutions certainly created an excellent impression on Dr Chow and he was unstinting in his praise. “I am impressed and also inspired. There is so much to learn from SingHealth that we can adopt and take reference from in Hong Kong. I think you have a very comprehensive and far-sighted planning and development which not many countries can copy. “I am also impressed with the planning of hardware in the clinics and the software of how you develop your people and how to groom people to not just be good doctors, but good researchers and educators as well.”

“Singapore and Hong Kong are similar in many aspects – we both come from a colonial background, but Singapore has changed and progressed a lot over the years and you are more autonomous in developing and establishing new systems and infrastructure. My main interests here would be to understand SingHealth’s systems and infrastructure.” At the National Heart Centre Singapore, Dr Chow was given a tour by Medical Director A/Prof Koh Tian Hai. He saw our doctors in action at the cardiac rehabilitation centres, laboratories and clinics. His visit to National Cancer Centre Singapore next gave him an understanding of our work in medical oncology as well as in the outpatient clinics. Dr Mark Leong from Singapore General Hospital’s Emergency Medicine Department then

“I am impressed and also inspired. There is so much to learn from SingHealth that we can adopt and take reference from in Hong Kong." Dr York Chow, Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health


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Her career has grown in tandem with the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) since the 1990s. Now as Chief Medical Technologist of NHCS Vascular Laboratory at Block 5 Level 6, Elaine Goh looks back over the years. BY Angele LEE “I still remember the first time I made a correct diagnosis,” said Elaine. “The sense of satisfaction upon my mentor confirming it was tremendous. That’s why I make sure I compliment my juniors when they take good shots.” “Shots” refer to the blood vessels ultrasound images that her team takes to provide accurate information on the pathology and the degree of vascular impairment non-invasively. The vascular laboratory currently sees about 4,000 cases a year. “We used to cram into a small office cum investigation room,” Elaine recalls. “Space was an issue with patients and visitors spilled into the corridors outside.” With an ever increasing workload, she is looking forward to moving into the new NHCS building when it is completed in 2013. The NHCS Vascular Laboratory started back in 1991 with only one medical technologist. It has since expanded to a working unit of six. “We know our strengths and weaknesses and are able to complement each other at work,” she says of her team. This includes covering for each other on days when time for lunch is less than ten minutes. It is a close-knit environment that Elaine enjoys. She also attributes the positive changes to the willingness of NHCS

management to listen to feedback. “As a centre, we enjoy a much closer relationship and direct communication channels,” she smiles.

from local hospitals and even international specialists.”

While coping with emergencies and managing patient workload can be stressful, Elaine still finds her work fun and satisfying. Light moments abound as she struggles to communicate with elderly patients in dialect, causing her colleagues to erupt in laughter. Among the highlights of Elaine’s career have been organising courses for the 16th and 18th SingLIVE Vascular Ultrasonography in 2007 and 2009. This is part of an annual conference in interventional cardiology organised by NHCS for 19 years, now known as AsiaPCRSingLIVE. “It was challenging, but we received overwhelming support

Now as Chief Medical Technologist, Elaine has taken on more administrative duties, on top of organising conferences, attending to clinical trials and teaching. She also mentors junior staff, providing feedback and reviewing their work. What’s next? “I’m working towards an oral presentation at a vascular conference; I suppose I’d better get going on that!” Elaine laughs.

“Working in the SingHealth group, our team gets to interact with colleagues at other institutions such as SGH, KKH and CGH. The opportunities for sharing of best practices and cross-collaboration help to strengthen each institution within the group.”


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Residing

Medical Greatness in

As SingHealth welcomes its first batch of residents for the Residency Program in May, the gears are in motion to ensure they get the best possible medical education. BY ARTHUR WONG

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ith the introduction of the Residency Program in Singapore, medical education now takes on a whole new dimension.

mission. It catapults us to the next phase of our pursuit of academic excellence in the spheres which we inexorably must embrace – service, research and education.”

Said A/Prof Colin Song, Cluster Designated Institutional Official (DIO) of the SingHealth Residency Program:

Supporting this program is a dedicated team of faculty members comprising Associate DIOs, Program Directors (PD), Associate PDs, Program Coordinators, as well as staff from the DIO Office, SingHealth Academy and SGH-Postgraduate Medical Institute.

“We are at the invigorating crossroads of change for graduate medical education in Singapore and for SingHealth as a center of learning and academic medical excellence. The new program allows us to live SingHealth’s vision and

Speaking at the Residency Program Internal Retreat, A/Prof Song gave due credit to the members of his

faculty who will soon be responsible for the education of future doctors. “We have an excellent faculty, who will confidently and comfortably nurture and pass the healthcare baton to the next generation. The residents who come to us will be empowered to succeed in the face of challenges.” The first batch of residents joins SingHealth in May 2010. They will benefit from the mentorship of our Program Directors, who with the help of his/her faculty, will impart medical knowledge of their specialty based on six core competencies set by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education-International (ACGME-I). The competencies are patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice. SingHealth has added a seventh competency – faculty development – to equip residents with leadership, administrative and pedagogy skills.

Meet the Mentors

Apart from performing their usual clinical duties, these Program Directors of the SingHealth Residency Program have dedicated time to share their immense knowledge with our residents. The faculty team is also working on new specialties as we prepare for the 2011 cohort of residents. Dr Mark Leong Program Director, Emergency Medicine Dr Mark Leong is a skilful and renowned physician with vast experience in the field of Emergency Medicine. Over his years of practice, he has held many Emergency Medicine medical and teaching appointments in both local and international institutions and committees. Passionate about saving lives, Dr Leong is actively involved in global disaster and emergency operations. He has led and participated in humanitarian relief missions at natural disaster sites in India, Sri Lanka and Taiwan, among many others.


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His take on the Residency Program: “The Residency Program is about our accountability as Clinican-Educators to our nation by producing future physicians and clinician leaders who are better than what we are now. The program should not only produce well-rounded specialist physicians but also provide an opportunity to grow a dedicated group of clinician educators/ mentors to help secure the future of healthcare in Singapore.”

A/Prof Wong Wai Keong Program Director, General Surgery A/Prof Wong Wai Keong is the Head and Senior Consultant of the Department of General Surgery in SGH and Visiting Consultant to NCCS. Committed to enhancing medical education in General Surgery, A/Prof Wong has been involved in education at various levels. He holds teaching appointments and professorship at the local medical universities and also sits on several education committees in the healthcare sector. These include, among others, the Subspecialty Training Committee (General Surgery) and Standing Committee for Specialist Training and Examination (Academy of Medicine, Singapore). His take on the Residency Program: “To me, the new Residency training means the opportunity to further refine our training program for the younger generation of doctors. More importantly, teaching and nurturing will become a part of everyone in the hospital. I hope that the structured nature of the program will see a better and higher quality of doctors across the country.”

A/Prof Chow Wan Cheng Program Director, Internal Medicine A/Prof Chow Wan Cheng is the immediate past Head of Department of Gastroenterology and Hepaology in SGH and holds teaching appointments as the Clinical Associate Professor of NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. She is also a member of the Advisory and Scientific Committee on hepatitis and related disorders in MOH Singapore. A/Prof Chow has a deep interest for medical education and devotes much of her time and effort to teaching. Aside from teaching at SGH and in the medical schools, she does voluntary teaching at healthcare institutions in her free time and makes donations to them for education purposes.

Her take on the Residency Program: “I see the education of future generations of physicians through the Residency Program as a fulfilling and exciting experience. Together with my team of Internal Medicine teaching faculty, I invite residents to join us and share our ethos of providing quality care for patients.”

Dr Lai Siang Hui Program Director, Pathology Prior to his appointment as Consultant in the SGH Department of Pathology, Dr Lai Siang Hui practiced as a forensic pathologist at the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore. Being the Head of Research and subsequently the Head of Training & Education in HSA then, Dr Lai has always been committed to education in the field of pathology. Currently, he continues to teach at SGH and at various local universities such as the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NTU. His take on the Residency Program: “Residency means taking ownership of postgraduate medical education. It does so by providing an organized platform for young doctors to be adequately supervised and trained to become specialists in their specialty of choice, while formally recognizing teaching and training efforts of medical professionals. I hope for everyone to see that the way forward in healthcare delivery is in training and education that aim to produce medical specialists who are competent, can add value to the entire healthcare delivery system and will provide continuity to the vision and mission of residency training.”

Adj A/Prof Chong Chia Yin Program Director, Pediatrics Adj A/Prof Chong Chia Yin has a love for children and is strongly dedicated to her work in Pediatrics. She is the Head and Senior Consultant of the Department of Pediatric Medicine, Head of the Infectious Disease Services and Chairperson of the Hospital Infection Control Committee at KKH. She also sits on various committees for different medical societies, institutions and task forces, and is the recipient of numerous service and research awards. Her take on the Residency Program: “We have arranged the program such that the residents are exposed to different rotations including pediatric surgery, anesthesia as well as some others which the current BSTs don’t have. We have chief residents to look after the residents and current BSTs. We hope the six competencies will

be fully developed in each resident by the time they graduate from the program and hope the program will help them to become competent pediatricians in the community and hospitals.”

A/Prof LiM Swee Han Program Director, Transitional Year A/Prof Lim Swee Han is a Senior Consultant in the SGH Department of Emergency Medicine who has been involved with medical education for more than a decade. He is a Clinical Associate Professor at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, holds several other professional appointments and committee memberships in the field of Emergency Medicine and is also active in clinical research, with cardiovascular emergency Medicine as his special area of interest. . His take on the Residency Program: “I look forward to providing Transitional Year residents a strong foundation in multiple clinical disciplines, along with diverse clinical experiences and dynamic learning activities. I also strongly encourage them to be an integral member of the patient care team and believe that their medical career would benefit much from the program.”

One-Stop Resource Portal The SingHealth Residency Intranet Resource Portal has all the resources a faculty member will need. With the launch of the SingHealth Residency Intranet Resource Portal, members of the faculty can now find all their education resources with a single click. From presentations to teaching materials and even faculty development modules, the Intranet Resource Portal aims to aid and support the faculty in their teaching endeavors. http://mysinghealth/singhealth/ residency


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Article Contributed By The Office Of Chief Risk Officer And Risk Management Office

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Integrated

Risk Management –

Towards Safer

Healthcare

Why Risk Management is Critical

A power failure may not seem like a major catastrophe but imagine if it were to happen in a healthcare setting – life support systems and medical equipment will not work, and emergency operations cannot be carried out – it certainly would become an issue of life and death. This is but one example of a risk scenario. Risks are inherent in any sort of operations, but for SingHealth, Singapore’s largest public

healthcare group which sees nearly four million patients every year, the impact of such risks can be monumental. Risk management has now become common play in most business operations. As a public healthcare cluster, we have the responsibility to ensure safety and quality in the delivery of services. Managing risks does not only involve clinical risks, namely harm to patients. Operational risks can have additional follow-on effects, such as legal action against a hospital,

undermining of an institution’s reputation or financial losses. There are four types of risk mitigation actions commonly undertaken:

Risk acceptance where we accept the probability and impact of risks, e.g. those arising from natural disaster

Risk avoidance where we withdraw from identified risks, e.g. adhering to strict hygiene procedures


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Risk transfer where we shift the burden of risks, e.g. buying insurance, where we shift physical risks, e.g. moving hazardous materials away from high human traffic areas

Risk reduction where we reduce the probability or impact of risks, e.g installing a sprinkler system to reduce the impact in the eventuality of a fire Traditionally, risk management has focused on specific, standalone categories. However, in the context of a multi-faceted and complex setup like SingHealth where most activities are inter-connected, an organisation’s risks do not exist in isolation. The boundaries of clinical and corporate risks often overlap,

and one risk can and usually does impact another.

Integrated Risk Management at SingHealth In recognition of the need for a holistic and integrated approach to risk management, SingHealth initiated the Integrated Risk Management (IRM) programme in November 2009 to enhance the risk management decision-making process at both the operational and strategic levels within the cluster. Integrated risk management is like an engine that drives improvement in patient care and safety across operational and functional units across the cluster. It uses a framework that provides an organisational view of the array of risks that we face, to understand

Physical security is something we can all observe by adhering to safety measures that are put in place. Image 1: Do not leave your office doors open for strangers to enter.

their inter-relatedness, evaluate them from the organisational perspective and develop effective risk treatment plans. Integrated risk management is not only more effective, it also allows for better utilisation of resources and reduces the duplication of efforts. Ultimately, like any other system, an integrated risk management requires the support and cooperation of all parties in the organisation to succeed. Prof Fock Kwong Ming is the Chief Risk Officer (CRO), SingHealth. He leads and oversees the Cluster Risk Management function. SingHealth Clinical Governance & Quality Management and Risk Management departments (collectively known as “Risk Management Office� or RMO) support the CRO.

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Image 2: Beware of tailgating as you enter your office. Images 3 & 4: Ensure there are safety barriers on rooftop areas. Keep such areas out of bounds and remind staff who need to access such areas to use a safety harness and keep a safe distance from the ledge.

Physical Security Observations

Image 5: Keep rooftop water tank under lock and key.

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Auld Lang Syne, Vickers’ House. With one final farewell, the Vickers’ House closing paved the way for the new National Heart Centre Singapore. BY ARTHUR WONG

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tanding at the rim of SGH Campus was a regal, but largely forgotten building. To passing eyes it meant little more than a building awaiting demolition, but it was once a hostel for many who have become the finest nurses in healthcare. That building was Vickers’ House. Soon, it would make way for the new and expanded premises of National Heart Centre Singapore. On 26 March 2010, 500 nurses gathered at Vickers’ House to relive the memories of the simple, care-free hostel days and to bid a fond farewell. The theme of the closing event was ‘Vickers’ House Reunion – One More Dance’ . Vickers’ House was officially opened by Mrs Tan Chin Tuan, wife of Deputy President of the Singapore Legislative Council, on 29 July 1953. At the opening Mrs Tan planted a tree in the hostel courtyard, where many nurses took their first step into a meaningful career.


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shop; and of twenty student nurses squeezed into one room so they would not have to sleep alone after watching a horror film.

Catch our exclusive video interview with Ms Kamsiah on SingHealth’s Facebook page!

Ms Gin Cheng Yam’s fond memories of staying at Vickers’ House remain today. Now deputy director of Nursing at SGH and also the chairperson for the organising committee for the event, she first stepped into Vickers’ House in 1968. ”I had a strict upbringing, and so the strict rules of the hostel didn’t quite bother me. I was fortunate to enjoy some luxuries. At Vickers’ House, everything was provided for us (student nurses) – the meals were prepared, the room was tidied, and our nursing canvas shoes were polished daily with white liquid Kiwi shoe-polish – so that we could concentrate fully on learning how to be a nurse.” It’s no wonder that the nursing hostel produced pioneers and leaders who brought the profession to new heights. Said Ms Gin, “Back in those days, nursing training in Singapore was hospital-based apprenticeship type of training. Nursing research was unheard of. Today, nurses go through diploma and degree programmes, with opportunity for higher achievements like masters and even PhDs.” Organised by a team of senior SGH nurses, the farewell event treated guest of honour, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan, and many of the Vickers’ House residents to a glimpse of the good old days. One of the ex-hostelites was Ms Kamsiah Bte Jaafar, who held back tears as she relived the memories of her student nurse days at the hostel. “I wish I could turn back time because I really miss those days,” she said, “Even now, although some of our friends have retired, we still catch up with each other.” She recalled the days when they would attend army parties, and rush to get back before the curfew ended; of waiting for each other before going for lessons at the Bakar’s convenience

For many, the occasion was not a sad one to say goodbye, but really a joyous one to celebrate their calling to be a nurse. Perhaps it is apt that the place that once instilled in many the true heart of the nursing profession will now make way for the heart centre aiming to be the best in the East.

At the HEART of it all Weeks after Vickers’ House closed its doors, construction for the new National Heart Centre Singapore commenced. me+SH hears from Senior Nurse Manager Rosalind Sim about her time at the nursing hostel, and how she feels about the new heart centre. First Impressions “I was previously from the hostel across the road. When Vickers’ House was built, we were expecting an improvement, and we were not disappointed. The facilities were very much better and everything was convenient, but one thing didn’t change – the people whom I lived with and the friendship that we shared.” Never alone “At Vickers’ House you are never alone. There was so much fun, and you could feel the togetherness. You’d have company to go out, chit chat and study. Those were the days.” Why nursing? “I like uniformed jobs, and had been preparing myself for one since my schooldays. But among all the uniformed groups I joined, I found myself very inclined to the medical side. Before even joining nursing I was teaching first aid classes in St John’s Ambulance Brigade and

putting on dressings for people as a Girl Guide.” Why a nurse at NHCS Critical Care Unit? “When my father was 39, he suffered from a heart attack. After witnessing the care he received in the hospital, I chose to specialise in critical care. I like the fast-paced nature of my job, where patients can be treated and recover quickly. With the help of modern technology, we keep a constant watch on patients’ parameters and initiate treatment for patients before the arrival of doctors when their conditions take a turn for the worse. Never a dull moment.” Thoughts on the new heart centre “The new heart centre will accommodate a lot of our new and existing facilities under one roof – research labs, clinical services and education. The new short stay unit with 24 beds there will help to free up some beds in our inpatient wards. The hostel of my past will soon become the workplace of my future;

I have many fond memories of Vickers’ House, and I hope for more as the hostel of old becomes the best heart centre for our patients.”


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Fortitude and hope BY CONSTANCE NONIS

“It amazes me that she knew almost everyone in NCCS and everyone knew her,� said Ms Hee Piang Chin about her sister Helen, who battled cancer for 10 years until she died in October 2009.

Inspirational Patient Award 2010


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Helen was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1999 and underwent a complete hysterectomy. Four good years followed before she had a relapse in 2003. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she had her lymph nodes removed. Doctors gave her three months to live, but being the fighter she was, she prevailed against the disease. In 2006, Helen was once again struck with cancer. This time, she was told it was bone cancer. “It was a little more difficult for Helen that time because bone cancer is much more painful,” said Ms Hee. “Only I knew of her pain because we lived together and I could see that the pain sometimes kept her awake at nights.” Her friends and family often rallied around to support her and that was when it dawned on Helen to start a support group.

home-bound in the last year of her life, she kept in touch with friends and patients via e-mail and handphone. “Even in her last days, Helen was communicating with friends and patients, planning for TRC’s fifth anniversary,” said Gilbert. “Through to her last day, Helen remained true to herself and her calling,” said Ms Hee. “She fought a hard fight, and she fought it with fortitude and hope.” Referring to the Wall of Hope project, Helen once said, “My tile represents a victory. And for survivors and cancer patients, hope is a very important word that we look forward to. When we look at the definition of hope, it is the fulfillment of something that we want to see at the end, and that is that you emerge a victor.”

Helen always thought of others. In fact, “Helen dedicated her whole cancer experience to helping others and that’s why, together with a fellow patient, she founded The Revival Connection (TRC), a support group for patients with advanced and recurring cancers,” said Gilbert Fan, Manager of Psychosocial Oncology at NCC. Under her leadership, the TRC Support Group grew four-fold, from 15 members to a group of about 60. In the last three-and-ahalf years of her life, Helen organised over 20 memorable activities, all oriented towards patient wellness. She also started a team to support patients at home because she felt that the home is the best place to connect with both the patient and the family. And a connector she was. Regardless of age, race, language or position in life, “Helen was able to get along with anyone quickly,” said Ms Hee. “She was also a tough nut – firm and demanding with very clear values and sound integrity – yet caring and understanding too.” Helen’s condition worsened in the last couple of years of her life. Although she became

The Wall of Hope represents the shelter and protection that the National Cancer Centre Singapore gives to cancer patients and their loved ones. It was launched in April 2008 with cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, researchers, healthcare professionals and the general public being invited to sketch a design expressing what “hope” means to them. The designs are transferred onto clay tiles and sent for firing before they take their place on the wall. To many patients, Helen was an unwavering icon of resilience and tenacity against cancer. She was their heroine – a figure of hope and inspiration. Helen’s sharing of her

own battle and encounter with cancer touched the lives of many suffering patients and put a smile back on their face. Herself a patient, yet Helen has been a strong source of support and encouragement for many newly diagnosed patients and their families. Even those who faced grief in their lives found solace from the comfort that Helen offered as a very committed patient ambassador and a champion for cancer awareness and cancer research fund raising initiatives. “Helen’s was a life well-lived,” declares Ms Hee. “I am very proud of her. She’s a doting daughter, sister, aunt, a good friend and a ‘servant leader’ – always serving without thought of ‘what’s in it for me’. Someone once commented, and accurately so, that everything Helen did, she did for the good of others. She has indeed left behind very big shoes for those of us who knew her to fill.”

Left: Gilbert Fan from NCCS Right: Ms Hee Piang Chin, eldest sister of the late Helen Hee


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Inspirational Patient Award 2010

Looking At Life Through

Special Lenses BY CONSTANCE NONIS

It wasn’t a bicycle accident that caused 30-year-old Tee Wee Leong to lose his sight more than six years ago. It did, however, prompt him to get a check-up when he had trouble playing football, a game which requires some side vision. Mr Tee was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa or RP, a genetic disease that causes slow but progressive night blindness and loss of side or peripheral vision.


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“Whatever happens, life goes on, there are always alternatives that will allow you to do what you want.” – Tee Wee Leong Tee Wee Leong and Linda Chan

There is no cure but vitamin therapy helps. In some cases, vision deteriorates; in others, like Mr Tee’s, it has remained stable although his field of vision is limited. Mr Tee moves more slowly and he relies increasingly on his hearing to get around. He avoids crowded places as much as possible and when going somewhere new, he familiarises himself with the surroundings first. He senses that people stare at him and he has been stopped by security guards who thought he was acting suspiciously. But he remains undeterred. He says, “Whatever happens, life goes on. There are always alternatives that will allow you to do what you want.” An extrovert, Mr Tee used to be actively involved in outdoor sports such as football, basketball and cycling. He has had to change his lifestyle: he now plays the electric guitar and jams with his buddies, shoots pool and bowls. It took him about a week to accept that he was slowly losing his vision, but with the help and support of his family, the young man decided to press on with his plan to study

information technology, and not let the disease beat him. That was in 2004. Today, he has a double degree in Network Administration and IT Security, and works as a Call Centre Executive with Prudential. Mr Tee hopes to work in the IT industry in the longer term. He aspires to go travelling on his own and also spread awareness of RP. Ms Linda Chan, Quality Service Executive at SNEC, who met Mr Tee in 2006 when he joined the Retina Pigmentosa support group, was impressed by his determination to finish his studies despite his disability. “With such a limited vision, he still persevered to finish his degree, volunteer to be part of the RP Society Singapore as well as maintain its website,” said Ms Chan. Ms Chan sees many patients with similar vision-related problems but few are as positive or determined. “It is so sad when some of them turn suicidal. We want to help all of them but sometimes it is difficult. Like Wee Leong, they must want to help themselves first,” she said.

me+SH finds out from Dr Ian Yeo, Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist with the Vitreo Retina Service of the Singapore National Eye Centre what RP is.

RETINITIS PIGMENTOSA is a spectrum of disorders where night vision and peripheral vision is progressively lost. This disease can present itself as early as after birth or much older. While most retain some central vision, the vision is fairly limited and of poor quality. Research is now exploring the possibility of stem cell therapy or the use of the bionic eye. However, such research is often limited by the lack of funding.

Those interested to help fund research in RP or assist RP patients financially can contact the SNEC at feedback@snec.com.sg


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Dr Johnson Fam from SGH talks to Angele Lee about the search for a link between depression and thyroid function.

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ost people are familiar with depression — the debilitating illness affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Similarly, many are also aware of the prevalence of thyroid disorders in women. Now, a team from SGH is attempting to find a link between the two, towards better treatment of depression.

What is depression?

Simply, it is a mood disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. It impacts all aspects of social functioning — self-care, social roles, and family life. It falls under the purview of Psychiatry.

What are thyroid disorders?

Thyroid hormones help regulate the metabolism, and can influence moods and energy levels, among other things. When the thyroid fails to function properly, you get thyroid disorders, 80% of which involve women, most commonly hyperthyroidism. The Endocrinology Department deals with thyroid functions.

Why is there a need to link the two?

The Psychiatry Department had been looking for bio markers for depression while Dr Daphne Khoo, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Endocrinology, had done some preliminary research into thyroid antibodies and cytokines (immune-system signalling molecules), which may be linked to depression. The overlapping interests led to this collaboration between the two departments. Dr Khoo is Principal Investigator for this project.

Tell me more about this trial

The study aims to uncover the significance of thyroid enzymes, thyroid antibodies, and cytokines in depressed patients. This will hopefully lead to a better understanding of their role in extrathyroid diseases and improve the treatment of depression.

What regulations are in place to ensure a safe and ethical study?

All clinical research has to pass the SingHealth Centralised Institutional Review Board, even before it begins. In addition, this project is funded by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC), and regular updates are submitted for their review. So, there are two bodies overseeing the study.

Who can participate?

We need Chinese females aged 21-60, without major physical illnesses and are not pregnant, to participate in the study. Two groups will be formed — the depression group will consist of women with depression while the control group will be made up of women without major mental illnesses. The trial comprises a mental health survey, a pregnancy test, and a blood test (15-30 mls) to measure levels of cytokines and thyroid hormones and antibodies. The project is currently at the recruitment stage and due to complete at the end of 2011. For more information on the study, please email imu@singhealth.com.sg or call 6323 7532 / 7534 / 7535.


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Charting a Patient-Centric Path Nurse Charting went live on 25 March 2010 in four wards at SGH. me+SH finds out how this contributes to the Mission for Improving Clinical Outcomes (MICO). BY Jeanie Cheah

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echnology has changed the way we document information and it is also changing the way data on patients is recorded in the wards of Singapore General Hospital (SGH). Hourly charts, clinical charts and intake/output charts have become digitised. This transition from paper to online documentation is a major challenge for the complex healthcare setting in SGH and took tenacity to implement. With the strong support of senior management and Director of Nursing A/Prof Lim Swee Hia, who is also the project sponsor, Nurse Charting has started in four wards – 42, 52B, 55A and 63C. The physical charts pertaining to patients that nurses painstakingly update in the wards will soon be a thing of the past as this initiative will be rolled out to all wards on SGH Campus in the beginning of June 2010. Through electronic documentation, accurate and up-to-date information is easily accessed. Doctors and nurses will be able to view the clinical charts, hourly charts and intake/ output charts from all parts of the hospital at anytime. The advantage extends beyond ease of access. “Online documentation does not rely on legibility like the handwritten charts do. The system automates calculations that were previously done manually, such as the total number of drips, quantity

of water, dosage of medication and number of meals that a patient is given. This improves accuracy while freeing up more time for nurses to devote to patients,” said Mr Yap Soon Ghee, Head Nursing Informatics, SingHealth, and Chairperson of the Core Clinical Design Team for Nurse Charting.

The new Nurse Charting System makes patient information easily accessible, allowing more time to be devoted to patients

What are some challenges of switching to an electronic platform? Said Senior Staff Nurse Irene Sin from Ward 52B, “Using pen and paper has been the way data is charted for the longest time. With this change in system, it is first about letting go of a familiar way of doing things to improve the delivery of patient care. It will take time for everyone to get used to it. “Before this new system was implemented, training had to be planned and all of us were scheduled

for it. When the system went live, of course there was anxiety about how it would work out. We had round-theclock support from our IT colleagues for three days.” Added Ms Gormit Kaur, Assistant Director Nursing at SGH, “One of the important aspects was providing support for the doctor and nurses during the transition period. This was really well supported and the presence of our IT support colleagues from the SGH IT Team, Medical Informatics and iHiS in their blue jackets was a real comfort for nurses knowing that help is just a turn of a head away,” In the longer term, the standardised electronic template will be used across the SingHealth cluster. Also in the pipeline is Knowledge-based Charting, which will enhance clinical and nursing documentation providing up-to-date evidence-based practice for nurses. This will provide a wealth of data for nursing research to further improve care delivery.

Electronic documentation makes patient information easily accessible, as demonstrated to Prof Ang Chong Lye, CEO of SGH


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ALL IN A DAY’S

W RK While they may not be victims of physical assault, our staff face workplace violence and abuse more times than we can imagine. Facing frustrated patients and their caregivers, the threat of violence is always real. me+SH finds out more. BY ARTHUR WONG

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aslinda Bte Hashim is a Patients Relations Officer at the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS). Her main duties are to help patients and their caregivers with their concerns at the centre. Serving as the face of NHCS, she is normally the first person her patients and members of the public go to when they need assistance.

Aimed at equipping staff with the means to effectively face and handle workplace violence, a seminar organised by SingHealth Service Quality saw more than 75 staff in various professions learning about identifying and alleviating workplace violence.

Having accumulated 15 years as an airline staff, Haslinda has had her share of rowdy customers, but comparing the two industries (healthcare and airline), she reckons that the problems she faces at NHCS can be a little harder at times.

Even before the seminar, he was actively educating and coaching his staff on workplace violence. Through the sharing or experiences at his department’s monthly meetings, he is able to impart his knowledge to some of the less experienced staff. “We deal with more than 300 patients daily but only about five are violent. Even then, I think it’s important for my staff to know how to handle these people so the other staff and patients are not affected by their behaviour,” said Chin Chong.

“At the airport, you almost never see the same person twice. Here at NHCS we sometimes see the patient and their caregivers a few times a week. These people can be nice one day and when they are frustrated with their illness or family situation, they can be otherwise,” she explained. While she’s never had anyone use physical violence on her, Haslinda has been a regular victim of bad-tempered patients and their caregivers laying all their frustrations on her verbally.

understanding of workplace violence was Tan Chin Chong, Assistant Manager and Senior Principal Radiographer at the SGH Department of Diagnostic Radiology.

What does he do when a patient gets violent?

(Top) Haslinda Bte Hashim, (Bottom) Tan Chin Chong

“I’m ok if they just talk. Sometimes all they want is for someone to listen. But I draw the line when they use vulgar language,” she said.

“Essentially the workshop is about protecting our staff. With increasing incidents of workplace violence, we hope to have SingHealth staff tackle the issues when they occur and not let these situations affect their morale and working environment,” said Isabel Yong, director of Group Service Quality at SingHealth.

Workplace violence does not necessarily have to be physical. It can appear in the form of verbal abuse or even poor attitude towards our staff. With the large number of patients they see every day, it is not uncommon for staff to have to suffer some sort of workplace violence.

And although the seminar served to be more of a refresher course for the veteran service staff who attended, it provided a valuable look into the experiences of their colleagues who related their harrowing encounters with workplace violence. Coming out of the course with a better

“Most importantly we must attend to such patients with a mindset that we are able to help and work out something positive. There was this time I took a violent patient aside and listened to his concern with empathy. Then I made some arrangement which can suit his concern. He calmed down and everything was back to normal!”

WANT TO KNOW HOW TO IDENTIFY AND DEAL WITH SIGNS OF VIOLENCE? Check out SingHealth’s facebook page and read what Chin Chong and Haslinda have to share!


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Set for completion in June 2011, a single platform will unite all HR processes and systems to bring about greater performance and satisfaction.

T

he end-point: to provide better Human Resource (HR) services for all SingHealth staff and increase overall staff satisfaction. The means: upgrading and transforming our HR systems and processes, striving towards consistent and best HR practices and optimising the productivity of HR staff. Teaming up with two international technology giants, IBM and SAP, SingHealth has paved the way for standardised HR systems and processes for our 23,000 users cluster-wide. The integrated HR platform aims to standardise policies on compensation and benefits,

performance reviews, and career development for all SingHealth staff. The system will also simplify processes – such as payroll runs and claims – across all SingHealth hospitals, centres and polyclinics. Said Ms Anna Fok, Group HR Director of SingHealth, “It is important that we provide our staff with a smooth and efficient HR application and infrastructure. With the transformation of the existing system, we hope to cultivate greater synergy between SingHealth institutions to provide better HR services for all our staff. “Over time, we want to achieve higher productivity and better service to our internal customers.” Laying the foundation for future technology innovations, this

project also increases IT capability, expands capacity and delivers standardisation. “The consolidation and optimising of our HR applications and infrastructure will further position SingHealth well for growth and service demands in the future,” added Ms Fok. Meanwhile, to ensure that the transition is smooth, IBM and SAP will identify functional gaps across existing HR platforms such as reporting formats, business process flows, data storage methods and configuration codes.


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At home with...

Dr Derek Tse

Dr Derek Tse is a family physician thrust into the management spotlight. He talks about what inspires him and how his career at SingHealth has taken shape over the years. BY WONG SHER MAINE

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hen Dr Derek Tse was promoted in June 2009, one of his patients wrote in to the Shin Min Daily News to sing his praises. “Kind-hearted doctor is transferred, patients cannot bear to let him go,” sang the Chinese headline. The patient interviewed in the article lauded Dr Tse’s reservoir of patience while others besieged the office with cards and presents. Asked on his greatest satisfaction, Dr Tse, 41, the assistant director of clinical services for the SingHealth Polyclinics, replies: “It is when I see my patients improving, be it recovery from an acute illness or having their chronic ailments under better control. When I see my patients feel better about themselves and their lives in general. When I see my patients, despite the setbacks of health issues, getting motivated to make the best of their days. That is my greatest satisfaction.” Dr Tse is the third of four children of a general practitioner in Hong Kong and he used to hang around his father’s clinic. “My dad had a major impact on my choice of career,” said Dr Tse. “As a family physician, he knew something about everything in Medicine and now, though he is in his 70s and retired, he has retained his keen interest in what the medical world is doing. Even

back in those days, I admired his passion for making a difference in the lives of patients.” Since then, the ex-Hwa Chong Junior College student who studied at the University of Queensland has become a much-loved physician and a wellregarded administrative leader. He was also inspired during his days as a medical officer when he did a six-month stint at the SGH Gastroenterology unit, under current Chairman of the Medical Board Professor Ng Han Seong. He said: “It was a tough posting, we all worked very hard from day one to the end, but I found the dedicated team under Prof Ng’s leadership very inspiring. At the beginning of the posting, I was often “scolded” but I always had a lot of respect for the seniors in the department.” However, he realised that Family Medicine was his calling when he was posted to the Family Health Services thereafter. “I really enjoyed the experience of managing a wide spectrum of medical problems during the posting. I also liked the teamwork at the polyclinics and the companionship of like-minded family physicians. Therefore I applied for the Family Medicine Trainingship. I was called for the interview and the rest is history.”

‘Family’ to a Family Physician

“One‘s family is extremely important to the wholeness of a person. You‘re

most at home when you‘re home. There is no pretence. You are your most honest self with your spouse and children, so you really get to know about yourself and that gives you balance.” Away from work, Dr Tse spends as much time as he can with his wife, Ms Borisut Lau, 39, a senior occupational therapist at the Changi General Hospital who is now on no-pay leave, and his three sons aged 4, 8 and 10. They like to hop over to the Pasir Ris Park from their nearby terrace house, which they had recently moved into. “I feel fulfilled and recharged whenever I‘m able to spend quality time with my loved ones, and that actually helps me face the challenges at work better. Seeing their smiles makes it all worthwhile at the end of the day. I must say I was less enlightened in my younger days, but I’ve since gone through some hard knocks and learnt with much conviction that striking a balance between work and family is key to

“One‘s family is extremely important to the wholeness of a person. You‘re most at home when you‘re home. There is no pretense. You are your most honest self with your spouse and children, so you really get to know about yourself and that gives you balance.”


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making a healthier, happier and more productive worker,” said the proverbial family man.

Growing with SingHealth

Nowadays he spends Fridays in the doctor’s seat caring for patients at the Sengkang Polyclinic, and the rest of his time in his office chair working on clinical integration. He has represented SingHealth Polyclinics to collaborate with SGH, KKH, NHGP and the GPs on various matters for the purpose of care integration. Said Dr Tse: “It is really about making the patient’s care more seamless across the institutions as well as to help right siting efforts.” He also works with the staff from CGH on regional health system initiatives. One example of what had been worked on before was when Dr Tse’s predecessor Dr Tan Kok Leong and his team came up with a pathway for dengue fever. So while someone with a low platelet count – indicative of dengue fever – might have been quickly bundled off to CGH in the past, the pathway now allows for more patients with dengue fever to be managed in primary care, and only necessitates

those with very low platelet counts to be warded. Much of Dr Tse’s work is still in progress. He and his team have been working on integrated clinical or care pathways for chronic ailments like diabetes and heart disease, and are looking at how such pathways can be implemented at primary care and linked with the care provided at the hospitals. He admits that the switch to a role involving more administration has been a challenge. Particularly since he considers himself a physician first and an administrator second. “I see myself as a physician,” he repeats several times during the interview. “And I would like to retire as a family physician. (The management role) was a leap of faith, in view of the needs of the organisation. Clinical integration was on the horizon and SHP needed to have a focus on it. I saw it as a challenge and I decided to take it.” What he hopes for is for family physicians to play a bigger role in healthcare. He said: “In many Western industrialised countries, Family

Medicine is a specialty, and generally family physicians manage a wider spectrum of care. What we would want to do is to provide the family physicians here with more support in terms of system and services, so that they will be able to manage more complicated chronic medical conditions or generally higher and wider spectrum of care. Better coordination, more holistic care for patients and right siting of care – which makes good economic sense – are some of the desired outcomes. Our specialist colleagues would also be freed up for higher end specialist’s work, research and teaching.”

10 things about Dr Tse 1 He used to play soccer and volleyball 2 History, be it world or ancient Chinese history, used to be his favourite subject in high school 3 He likes watching the History Channel on cable with his sons 4 He teaches Sunday school at church to adults 5 His mobile phone ring tone is the voice of his four-year-old child, Luke 6

He met his wife in Brisbane, where they were part of the same small cohort of students from Singapore, staying at the same hostel and “working” for the same Singapore Student Association

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Unlike most overseas students from Asia, he enjoyed clinical postings in the more “ulu” places while studying Medicine in Australia

8 He has been with SingHealth Polyclinics for 10 years 9

His first intensive stint in “healthcare administration” took place in 2004 when he was Dr Ruth Lim’s deputy in the commissioning of SengKang Polyclinic

10 He has been involved in Institutional Review Board (IRB) work since 2005, first at SHP IRB and now CIRB E, reviewing research protocols from areas such as gastroenterology, family medicine and paediatrics.


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Chicken or Rice? Chicken rice is a winner with most of us. me+SH seeks the recommendation of staff for the best chicken rice around Singapore. Check out our colleagues’ favourites.

Contributor

Place

The X-factor

Sin Swee Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant 35 Seah Street

The perfect chicken rice should comprise smooth, slippery and savoury chicken pieces with fluffy, flavourful and fragrant rice. Fantastic chicken rice at Sin Swee Kee.

Hatijah Binti Tohid Senior Staff Nurse 1 Infection Control, SGH

Evertop Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice Blk 354 Clementi Avenue 2 #01-259

The chicken is boneless and tender. And the rice is fragrant and not too oily. It serves duck too.

Jesper Chia Tang Seng Senior Associate Finance Shared Services, SingHealth

Tan Kee Chicken Rice Stall at Pek Kio (Cambridge) Market

It costs only $2 per plate and the chicken is very fresh and the meat nice and tender.

Dr Mimi Yow Senior Consultant Orthodontics, NDC

Your views cold local dessert? Tell us why and where it tastes best as we prepare to combat the heat in the coming months.

The portion they give can be compared with stalls that charge $3, and it comes with a big bowl of peanut soup! They have two types of chilli (regular chicken rice chilli and Sambal), and both are very good. The stall also provides minced ginger which can be mixed with the chicken rice chilli.

Dr Andrew Chin Yuan Hui Consultant (Head) Department of Hand Surgery, SGH

Tian Tian Chicken Rice Maxwell Road Food Centre

For the white chicken. The rice is heavenly and the chicken is smooth and soft.

Lee Fun Nam Kee Chicken Rice Toa Payoh Lorong 4

For the soya sauce chicken... the soya sauce is to die for.

Ker-Jin Wong Hospital Executive Learning Centre and Career Development, SGH

Nam Kee Chicken Rice & Restaurant 201 Upper Thomson Road.

I like the authentic Hainanese chicken rice. It’s a 1960s kopitiam styled restaurant that sells other traditional Hainanese dishes.

What is your favourite

The chicken rice is fragrant and not oily. It is quality chicken rice at a reasonable price

Email me.sh@singhealth. com.sg today.

rATING (out of 5)


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Desktop Dilemma With so much time spent at work, our working environment has a big impact on our physical and mental well-being. The specialist from the Health Xchange Portal answers some questions on work place health. The questions and answers have been edited for length.

THE SPECIALIST: Dr Fong Yuke Tien Senior Consultant and Director, Department of Internal Medicine, SGH

screen radiation and strain on the eye?

Q: I travel a lot in my work and use the laptop and blackberry all the time. When I’m not travelling I’m at my desk on the computer. Am I in danger of any wrist and hand problems? How do I avoid this? What about computer

Dr Fong: People generally get more neck and upper limb aches and pain when using the laptop. They tend to have a head tilt when bending forward to use the laptop and when this is coupled with bad posture, substantial neck pain may develop. Also the fingers may be too big for the keyboard.


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However there are a variety of more specific conditions like musculoskeletal ailments or diseases affecting the back muscles or nerves that are associated with lower backaches and fever. Other conditions include rheumatologic conditions that may also present one with backache, and infections involving the muscles of the back or spine.

I have noticed that blackberry users tend to get Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) involving the wrist and Tenosynovitis of the thumb. This is due to the repetitive movement and overuse of the joint of the thumb, pressure on the wrist and overuse of the joints involved when typing, leading to underlying strain and micro-tears of the tendons of the thumb and the wrist involved. The computer screen issues relate more to eye strain due to glare; the radiation is not substantially related to ionising radiation. Glare causing eye strain is real and we should take frequent breaks to look away from the screen to reduce strain and ensure proper lighting is available.

Q: Recently I acquired lower back pain following an onset of flu. We know of back pain associated with poor posture, is there any relevance between lower back pain and fever? What exercises would you recommend for lower back relief? Dr Fong: A person with flu or fever feels unwell with general malaise, lethargy and in particular if it is a viral infection, there may be generalised body aches which may appear as backache.

in practice to ensure that I do not suffer any additional health conditions from my nature of job?

In women, pelvic inflammatory disease may also present one with low backache which may be associated with some discharge. Renal stones causing renal colic can radiate from the loin to the groin and symptoms of low backache may sometimes be due to referred pain from underlying pyelonephritis, which is an infection of the kidney itself. Occasionally, some forms of malignancy may originate or migrate to the spine and cause back pain and if there is associated inflammation, it may be accompanied by a fever. In general when we are ill with a fever, rest is essential and some analgesia may help. The aches and pains will wear off with recovery if the problem is just a viral fever.

Q: My job requires me to travel constantly. I have recently been diagnosed with hypertension. Would constant flying worsen the hypertension? What are the measurements that I can put

Dr Fong: Hypertension is a significant medical condition which must be managed properly. Frequent travel may be stressful to some people and this may aggravate the hypertension. You need to be under the care of a doctor and if you take your medication regularly and have adequate rest, it is possible to keep the blood pressure within an acceptable range. Hypertension is often associated with other medical issues like ischemic heart disease, hyperlipidemia and kidney disease, to name a few. Many factors that aggravate hypertension are controllable and preventable. Stop smoking if you do, keep the weight down, decrease salt intake, keep fit and control your diet – these are things you could do to keep healthy. Regular exercise within the limits of your health condition is good too. Today, many people keep records of their own blood pressure and with the advent of tools like the electronic sphygmomanometer, home monitoring of the blood pressure is a breeze. Also, be compliant with your medication.


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Healthy Feet = Happy Feet On 21 April, SingHealth staff got together and celebrated the inaugural podiatry day with our podiatrists at the Postgraduate Medical Institute. Angele Lee reports for me+SH. “Podiatrists have a special place in my heart,” Prof Ivy Ng, Deputy CEO of SingHealth declared at the inaugural Podiatry Day on 21 April. A collaboration between SGH and CGH, Podiatry Day marked the formation of the Podiatry Association (Singapore) in 1997 from its previous incarnation as the Singapore

Podiatry Group, established in 1994. Tips on footcare and footwear were shared at talks open to both staff and the public, with the aim of raising awareness of the profession. Prof Ng shared with participants, “I used to be an avid runner and was diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. Mr Tye Lee Tze, the first podiatrist in Singapore, prescribed insoles which helped solve my problem.” Podiatrists diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate any medical conditions of the foot, ankle and lower limbs. These range from routine care for diabetic patients to acute and chronic nail conditions, sports-related injuries, orthoses, biomechanical gait analysis and paediatric and geriatric footcare − all services offered by SingHealth.

A sick foot is no laughing matter. Foot conditions can be extremely painful and ignoring symptoms in the long run can lead to other complications affecting the rest of the body, especially the back. Untreated foot ailments can also escalate drastically, such as in the case of diabetes, where amputation may be required.


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There are currently 13 of these professionals in SingHealth. Besides delivering quality patient care, which includes a partnership with SingHealth Polyclinics for diabetic care, SingHealth podiatrists are actively involved in research and public education.

Said Prof Ng, “Podiatrists have a role in defining tomorrow’s Medicine. Firstly, let’s aim for zero amputations − we should always put our patients at the heart of all we do and share the belief that they deserve better care. Secondly, let’s aim to double the number of podiatrists as we tackle an ageing population and rise in chronic diseases.”

In the meantime, the profession is still growing, with more podiatrists joining the pool in the coming months. SHP is expanding its community podiatry services with more clinics, and a new service, Anodyne Therapy, will be launched next year − all a step in the right direction for Singapore’s health scene.

Thumbs Up for Podiatry Day “The talk provided plenty of useful information and timely reminders on the importance of foot care which we tend to forget. I found the presentation on sports footwear and fads the most informative as I was interested in finding out more on running shoes.” Dr Khoo Tan Hoon Seng, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCCS “The booths complemented the talks as vendors allowed us to touch and feel the shoes, giving us a better understanding on the pointers highlighted by the presenters. I had a chance to see what is available in the market and learn about the proper usage of shoes.” Ms Pansy Yeo, Senior HR Manager, SingHealth View more pictures of the celebrations on our SingHealth’s Facebook page!

Making Tracks With running fast becoming a national sport, more Singaporeans are seeking out podiatrists nowadays. It’s a good thing, then, that this runner is one himself. BY Angele LEE

“I’m passionate about a few things – in all that I do, I put in my heart and soul!” Ng Chee Hong’s enthusiasm shows especially when it comes to running. “I run six days a week, anything from 8km to 35km. “Running stimulates me,” he proclaims. The Malaysian landed in Singapore from Brisbane only late last year, but has

already made fast friends through his sport, such as his SGH colleagues in the Work-Life Running Group. Chee Hong also bonds with his flat-mate and fellow runner, a podiatrist in private practice. “We don’t hang out at bars or cafes, we explore the island running.” The duo have made tracks over places such as Mount Faber, the Marina Bay area, East Coast Parkway and even Sentosa. “I prefer forests, but those are kind of hard to find in Singapore!” he laughs. Fun runs and marathons are highlights, but Chee Hong broke his ankle playing Futsal, just four months before the 2009 Singapore Marathon. While the setback left him with a slight phobia of the game, it did not

dampen his zeal for running, and he’s been pounding the pavements since recovery. Chee Hong is equally wholehearted about his work. The 28-year-old has four years of podiatry experience under his belt. As a podiatrist, does he find himself looking at people’s feet compulsively? Yes. “But it’s not a fetish!” he interjects. “As a runner I automatically look at feet to gauge how active a person is. Although, feet do hold a certain attraction for me....” An occupational hazard, one might say. In his dreams and plans for the not-too-distant future, Chee Hong would like to take four to five years to cycle

around the world. A previous two-month-long expedition cycling remote areas in the Australian desert changed his outlook on life, and whetted his appetite for more. “In such a setting, you learn to appreciate very basic things in life, such as water, or even shade,” he reflects. “It’s quite scary to think about just stopping everything and taking off like that. It might be best not to think too much and just go.” “Reach for your dreams,” he advises. “Just do whatever is in your heart.”


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Story Ideas 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 me.sh@singhealth.com.sg today!!

CONTEST 1. Name the two qualities of the Tembusu tree that symbolise SingHealth’s strength and ability to withstand challenges such as H1N1 and SARS. 2. What IS THE CENTRAL THEME OF THE SINGHEALTH PRESIDENT’S CHALLENGE OUTREACH THIS YEAR? 3. Which SingHealth institution will have its new building in the space vacated by Vickers’ House? Email your answers (together with your name, designation, institution, department and contact number) to me.sh@singhealth.com.sg by 7 June 2010. Three lucky winners will each receive a Borders gift card worth $20.

Here are the answers to last issue’S quiz: Q: Which anniversary is SingHealth celebrating this year? A: 10th anniversary Q: Who are the two research administrators in this issue who have worked 10 years at NCCS? A: Ms Audrey-Anne Oei & Ms Justine Tan Q: Name SingHealth’s first Group CFO, who has served 10 years. A: Mr Sia Kheng Hong And here are our lucky winners! 1. Goh Chin Chin, Clinic Pharmacy Manager, SHP-Pasir Ris 2. Ong Siew Wei, Senior Medical Technologist, NHCS 3. Shirlena Wong, Nurse Clinician, SGH Each of them will receive a S$20 shopping voucher. me+SH will be contacting the winners shortly with prize collection details.


SingHealth is 10 and growing! We invite all staff to celebrate with us and tell us what you wish for healthcare in the next 10 years. Visit our website to plant your wish for tomorrow and stand to win an iPod! To thank you for your participation, each department to send in 10 wishes will receive a birthday cake.

For more details, visit the SingHealth Desktop Portal http://mysinghealth/singhealth


Watch A Movie For A Good Cause Your contribution of $20* will go towards helping more than 30 beneficiaries of the President’s Challenge 2010.

A SingHealth Fundraising Project for President’s Challenge 2010

SingHealth Charity Movie Screening 12 June 2010, 3.30pm Golden Village @ Vivocity

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time An action-adventure set in Persia where a rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) joins forces with a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) to safeguard an ancient dagger that allows its possessor to rule the world by reversing time. - Adapted from www.disney.com

You may not be the first to watch BUT certainly not the last for a very good deed! Stand to win a pair of GV movie passes for every ticket purchased*.

*Each movie ticket is $20. Purchase the tickets from your institution’s PC2010 representative now! Members of SingHealth Group


me+SH (May-Jun 2010)