ADDRESS BY DR AMY KHOR, SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR HEALTH, MINISTRY OF HEALTH, AT THE 2014 SDC DENTIST’S PLEDGE AFFIRMATION CEREMONY, 1st AUGUST 2014

Professor Chew Chong Lin, President, Singapore Dental Council

Distinguished Guests

Newly Registered Dentists and your families               

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.   Thank you for inviting me to join you for the 2014 Dentist’s Pledge Affirmation ceremony. Firstly, my congratulations to all our new graduates.

2.   Today you will be reciting the Dentist’s Pledge in the presence of your colleagues and family members, who are here to witness this very special event in your life. For many of you, this marks the transition into your new career as dentists.

3.   The Dentist’s Pledge signifies your commitment to uphold the values essential to the dental profession – integrity, honesty, care and compassion. The fundamental ethos and personal values detailed in the pledge embody the principal tenets of your profession, and we hope that the solemn promises that you make today will be a steady compass to guide you to make ethically and medically sound professional decisions in your daily practice.

4.   Therefore, I trust that you will recite the Pledge today sincerely and thoughtfully. This pledge will seal the commitment of your professional responsibilities towards your patients and to the development of your profession.

5.   The practice and delivery of Dentistry in Singapore is constantly evolving and the Ministry of Health has and will continue to look into meeting the changing needs of both the dental health practitioners and their patients as they arise.

THE PIONEER GENERATION PACKAGE AND CHAS

6.   The Government recently introduced the Pioneer Generation Package to recognise a special group of Singaporeans.  They made Singapore into what it is today but lived with fewer social safety nets than many of us.  They are advanced in years now, and healthcare cost is a key concern for them.  The Package is meant to provide greater assurance, so that they worry less about healthcare cost in their golden years.

7.   One key component of the Pioneer Generation Package is to help our Pioneers receive quality primary care at a network of more than 1,000 GP and dental clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme, or CHAS.

8.   Our Pioneers can receive special subsidies when they visit CHAS GP and dental clinics.  If needed, they can also be referred to the National Dental Centre so that they can access more complex, subsidised dental care if needed.

9.   This will ensure that the full range of affordable dental services is readily accessible to them. 

10.               I hope that as you start your careers as keen young dentists, you will continue to show empathy for the needs of your patients and provide them the care that is appropriate to their needs

PREVENTIVE DENTAL HEALTHCARE FOR OUR YOUNG

11.               Whilst we continue to improve the accessibility and affordability of dental healthcare, the Ministry will also look into investing more in preventive oral health.

12.               Most risk factors of dental disease are modifiable and as such, the majority of dental disease that you manage in your everyday practice is largely preventable. Our Ministry is also looking into strengthening the School Dental Services (SDS) and increasing our preventive outreach, particularly to pre-schoolers, their parents and care-givers. The SDS was extended to all secondary schools in 2001 with mobile dental buses going on-site to provide basic preventive services, curative treatment and referral services. In 2014, HPB further extended the SDS to pre-schoolers, and aims to cover all the children in childcare centres within three years to reduce the present caries rate in children.

13.               The practice of Dentistry goes way beyond just drilling and filling. To be an excellent dentist you will not only need good technical skills, but also strong professional, communication and education skills.

14.               As dental professionals, you are in the best position to be our dental health advocates and ambassadors.

CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION

15.               As you embark on your dental careers and are eager to put what you have learnt into everyday practice, you will realise that the science of Dentistry is ever-changing with evolving new technologies, materials and techniques. 

16.               What you have learnt in dental school must be constantly updated with the latest in evidence-based care so that you can maintain your competency with high professional practice standards.  Thus, since 2005, the Dental Council has made it mandatory for dentists to attain Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training hours within a 2-year qualifying period before they can renew their practicing licences.

17.               I encourage all of you to continue a culture of learning, sharing, active clinical discussion and peer-feedback amongst your dental colleagues, so that individually and as a profession, the standard of dentistry will continue to improve for the benefit of our patients. 

CONCLUSION

18.               Many of you desire to become dentists for altruistic reasons, and Dentistry is a noble profession to which you aspired since you were young.   We look forward to your contribution to the dental community’s strong commitment to enhancing the welfare of others.  By maintaining your professionalism, the profession will gain the respect of the public and the patients who put their trust in your care.

19.               Let me end by conveying my heartiest congratulations to our newly registered dentists. I wish all of you a successful and fulfilling career!

Thank you.

 

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