Speech by Dr Lam Pin Min, Minister of State for Health at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference Opening Ceremony, 25 September 2015

Professor Ivy Ng, Group CEO, SingHealth

Professor Thomas Coffman, Dean, Duke-NUS

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.              It gives me great pleasure to join you today at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference. Academic establishments such as the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre play a critical role in equipping future generations of healthcare professionals with the right skills to deliver appropriate and good quality care to patients, as our healthcare needs evolve.

BUILDING SINGAPORE’S HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL WORKFORCE

2.              Driven by an ageing population, rising life expectancies and the changing lifestyles of our people, we can expect chronic diseases and long term medical conditions to become more prevalent. Consequently, demand for healthcare services will increase. To meet our future healthcare needs, MOH launched the Healthcare 2020 Masterplan in 2012 to expand capacity and improve healthcare services for all Singaporeans.

3.              To support the expansion in services, we have increased student intakes into healthcare professional training pipelines to grow the local pool of doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals. Between 2012 and 2015, the local medical intake has increased by 29%, from about 350 to 460. The local nursing intake has also increased by 17%, from 1,550 to 1,820 over the same period. We are also introducing allied health degree programmes at the Singapore Institute of Technology from 2016.

DEVELOPING COMPETENT EDUCATORS

4.              To train the growing number of healthcare students and workforce, we need to develop a pool of competent and dedicated clinical educators within the healthcare sector.  Clinical educators complement academic educators and play a crucial role in training the next generation of healthcare professionals.  The Ministry of Health supports healthcare education by providing funding to our healthcare institutions, so that clinical educators can set aside time for teaching. Our public healthcare institutions have also developed partnerships with academic institutions to invest in the training and development of Clinical Educators. One such example is the joint Singhealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Education Institute which has trained more than 3,300 healthcare educators from across professions and disciplines.

5.              In addition to training more healthcare professionals, we also need to continuously deepen the skills of our healthcare professionals, to provide better care for patients. The SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing and the Singapore General Hospital Post-Graduate Allied Health Institute offer more than 9,000 training places for nurses and over 2,000 training places for allied health professionals to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and skills in their respective fields. Importantly, the training and learning facilities at the new Academia building offer opportunities for our healthcare professionals to train in multi-disciplinary teams and practise new technologies and procedures in a safe setting. Such training is essential to prepare these teams to deliver integrated care for patients.

6.              The all-round support for the education mission enables our healthcare educators to train their successors to become better clinicians, nurses, and allied health professionals, thus creating the pipeline for sustainable healthcare excellence for the future.

RECOGNISING OUTSTANDING EDUCATORS

7.              I am heartened to learn that SingHealth and Duke-NUS will be recognising the dedication and commitment of our Clinical Educators through various awards today.

8.              One of them is Dr Evelyn Wong, who has mentored many emergency medicine doctors in her more than 20 years of clinical practice. She has also made significant contributions to inspire and groom the next generation of educators. For her commitment, Dr Wong will receive the Generativity Award under the Medical category today.

9.              Advanced Practice Nurse Tan Hui Li, winner of the Outstanding Educator Award under the Nursing category, holds multiple teaching appointments at institutes such as SingHealth Alice Lee IAN, NUS Alice-Lee School of Nursing. From teaching advanced nursing skills in the Patient Navigator Course and Resident Nurse Programme, to tutoring nursing students on medical and surgical nursing skills – APN Tan is actively involved in training various groups of nurses on a diverse range of topics and skills.

10.          Another award recipient today is Mr Lim Teong Guan, a senior principal clinical pharmacist from the Singapore General Hospital. Mr Lim will receive the Outstanding Educator Award under the Allied Health. Mr Lim has been involved in developing structured programmes for pharmacists, students and pharmacist technicians locally and abroad. One of the notable training programmes he has helped to develop is the Ambulatory Care training for MOH Pharmacy Post-Graduate Year 1 Residency students. For his contributions to the continuing education training of pharmacists, Mr Lim has won the Outstanding Educator Award under the Allied Health category.

11.          Besides Dr Wong, Ms Tan and Mr Lim, eight other outstanding educators will also be recognised for their significant contributions to education. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to all winners.

CONCLUSION

12.          I would also like to convey my appreciation to all educators here today for your commitment to healthcare education. Thank you and I wish all of you a fulfilling time at the Conference.

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