Mr Wu Tuck Seng, President, Singapore Pharmacy Council
Guests and Pharmacists
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 It is a great pleasure to be here at the Singapore Pharmacy Council’s fourth Pharmacist’s Pledge Affirmation Ceremony and to welcome the new pharmacists into the healthcare family.
2 Congratulations to the newly registered pharmacists. I am sure that you and your families are very happy and proud that you have successfully completed a significant milestone in your professional training.
3 Over the last few years, a key challenge we face is meeting the increasing healthcare needs of Singapore’s population. In addition, the demands on healthcare are ever-changing. With the ageing population, the prevalence of chronic diseases is likely to rise. Effective chronic disease management is therefore important and will require new models of care, especially in the community setting. Community pharmacists can contribute much in this area with respect to drug management of patients with chronic disease.
BUILDING CAPACITY - PHARMACIST MANPOWER
4 To meet the healthcare demands, we estimate that we will need to grow the healthcare professional workforce and we definitely need more pharmacists in the direct patient care sector, as well as in the community at large, to look after the elderly and those with chronic illness. We will also need specialist pharmacists to provide specialised care for complex cases in tertiary hospitals. Pharmacists will also be required in health programmes focussing on disease prevention, promotion of healthy lifestyles and health screening.
5 We are ramping up our local pipeline of pharmacists to address our long-term healthcare needs. The NUS Department of Pharmacy has been steadily increasing its training capacity and will eventually reach an intake of 240 pharmacy students.
6 Today, I understand that there are 157 newly registered pharmacists who will be receiving their Registration Certificates from the President of the Singapore Pharmacy Council. With these additions, there are now 2,135 registered pharmacists in Singapore.
7 Besides increasing our local pipeline, we are also bringing in foreign-trained pharmacists, including Singaporeans, to supplement our pool of pharmacists to meet the pharmacist manpower demands. There is a total of 138 pharmacy degrees in the Singapore Pharmacy Council’s recognised list of pharmacy qualifications and the Council is constantly reviewing pharmacy degrees from various countries.
8 So far, I have spoken briefly on building capacity. To strengthen capability, the Singapore Pharmacy Council is re-vamping the pre-registration pharmacist training programme to better equip pharmacists with the relevant competencies to meet our changing healthcare needs. The Singapore Pharmacy Council is now working out the details of the new pre-registration model which will be piloted at some hospitals this year to assess its feasibility and robustness.
9 In tandem with the review of pre-registration pharmacist training, the NUS pharmacy undergraduate curriculum is also being reviewed to ensure a better integration of knowledge and skills, and facilitate a smoother transition from university to practice.
10 As the healthcare landscape evolves, there will be new opportunities for the Pharmacy profession in terms of new and expanded roles and responsibilities. The Pharmacy Specialist Accreditation Board or PSAB, formed about 3 months ago, is now planning the pharmacy specialists’ accreditation framework to roll out this year. The PSAB will define the specialties in the practice of pharmacy and certifies those who meet the requisites of both qualifications and experience for registration as specialists. The Singapore Pharmacy Council will maintain the Register of Specialists. There will be specialist pharmacists in Oncology and Advanced Pharmacotherapy in the areas of Infectious Diseases, Cardiology, Geriatrics and Psychiatry. This will create more opportunities and career pathways for pharmacists.
11 Building capacity and capability of healthcare professionals are crucial means in which we can ensure the accessibility and quality of healthcare delivery. The work on integrating care and ensuring continuity is critical as we focus more on the community. Pharmacists play significant roles to improve care and treatment for patients across the healthcare continuum, especially that of drug management. By taking a leadership role in drug management, they can meet patient’s needs and add value to the healthcare team through reducing drug-related problems and preventable adverse drug events.
12 Examples of quality care include medication review and management by pharmacists in the hospital, community, nursing homes and even in home care services. In the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, pharmacists run ambulatory clinics and actively collaborate in inter-professional teams, to manage specific medication related issues of the patients.
13 I read with interest that the pharmacist’s pledge is crafted using the letters that form up the word “PHARMACIST” to symbolise the internalization of the values, ethics, vision and professionalism of pharmacists. By upholding and demonstrating these intrinsic behavioural qualities, pharmacists will gain the trust and confidence of their patients and colleagues. By taking this pledge, you are making a personal commitment to the pharmacy profession, regardless of your area of practice as a pharmacist.
14 Today you will be making a promise that you must keep throughout your whole professional life. You will be pledging to practise your profession with honesty, integrity and compassion; to maintain a high standard of professional competence through lifelong learning and to always place patients’ interests first, to treat them equally and to keep patient information in confidence.
15 You will endeavour to collaborate with colleagues from all fields of healthcare to achieve the desired treatment outcomes and to impart your knowledge, experience and skills to nurture future pharmacists. You will strive to provide high quality and cost-effective health services and products and to translate scientific advances into better healthcare.
16 As the pledge resonates in your hearts, I hope it will instil in you a sense of pride and duty to your profession, and reflect your commitment to provide the highest level of care to your patients and the community that you will serve.
17 In closing, I would like to once again convey my heartiest congratulations to the newly registered pharmacists. I encourage you to strive for excellence, not only in knowledge and skills, but also in ethics and professionalism. I wish each one of you a successful and fulfilling career, built on the values embodied in the Pharmacist’s Pledge.