Speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at the 20th Asia-Australasia Conference of Radiological Technologists, 21 August 2015

Ms Tan Chek Wee, President, Singapore Society of Radiographers

Presidents and representatives from the Radiography Societies 


Ladies and gentlemen

1.             I am very pleased to join you this morning at the 20th Asia-Australasia Conference of Radiological Technologists. To our friends from all over the world, a warm welcome to Singapore!

2.             Healthcare is going through major changes in Singapore and many parts of the world, due in large part to an ageing population. In Singapore, the number of seniors aged over 65 years, will more than double from 430,000 today to more than 900,000 in 2030. This changing demographic requires fundamental changes in healthcare services and delivery to anticipate and meet the needs of an ageing society. We need to place greater emphasis on areas such as preventive health and chronic disease management. Likewise, we need to organise our healthcare system for effective care delivery. This includes a team-based approach, with doctors, nurses and allied health professionals like radiographers, working together not only in the hospitals but also within primary care and community care settings.

3.             The use of medical radiation in medicine and healthcare has become an integral part of a patient’s journey through the healthcare system, either in diagnosis or treatment of disease.  From radiographic images on fractures and ligament tears; to the diagnosis of the type of stroke and treatment of cancer, these services cannot be rendered without the diagnostic radiographers and radiation therapists forming an important part of the Allied Health workforce in the multidisciplinary healthcare team today.

4.             Career opportunities of radiographers and radiation therapists in Singapore will be significantly enhanced in 2016, with two major developments. Firstly, statutory regulation and registration will be introduced for diagnostic radiographers and radiation therapists under the Allied Health Professions Act. This will help to assure higher standards of radiography practice in Singapore, and better care for patients. Secondly, new four-year degree programmes in Diagnostic Radiography and Radiation Therapy will be introduced at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). These programmes will complement the existing degree upgrading programmes that the SIT offers, and equip our future radiographers and radiation therapists with deeper knowledge and skills to keep pace with the evolving healthcare landscape and technologies, and to improve patient care.

5.             The conference theme for the AACRT this year is “Transcending Medical Radiation”, which is an apt reminder for the profession to reflect upon the changes and developments in the profession and the healthcare environment; and to prepare for the exciting opportunities and challenges in the future.


6.             Since the discovery of x-rays more than 100 years ago, radiographers and radiation therapists have been the gate keepers of radiation, harnessing radiation for the benefit of the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. In the last 30 years, Radiography has moved beyond x-rays and has embraced new imaging technologies that do not use ionizing radiation – such as ultrasound and MRI. Today, there are a myriad of hybrid imaging technologies, for example the PET/CT. It is important that new technologies are used appropriately and prudently in order to benefit patients.

7.             However, technology and equipment cannot be effective without good radiographers or radiation therapists. Radiographers are an integral part of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team and must look beyond the immediate sphere of work to be an active contributor in patient care. Not only do you need to adapt to new and emerging technology and practices, you can also give valuable and timely advice to doctors on the appropriate procedures. Radiation therapists not only need to ensure safe and accurate treatment delivery, but also provide evidence-based care to patients.


8.             It is heartening to note the partnerships and collaborations among radiographers and radiation therapists in the region and beyond. This Asia-Australasia conference is a testament to the continuing efforts in encouraging collaboration among the international radiography community. I also note that Singapore is a founding member of the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT) and has produced two past presidents of the ISRRT, namely, the late Mr K. Vaithilingam and Dr Tyrone Goh, who is here with us today.

9.             Singapore celebrates its 50th year of independence this year. As we celebrate our achievements as a nation, we should also remember that this was built upon the efforts and foundations laid by our pioneers like Mr Vaithilangam. As one of the Radiography pioneers in Singapore, Mr Vaithilingam built up the then School of Radiography to be an institution of repute. A passionate educator in Radiography, he set very high standards in education and training and nurtured generations of young radiographers.  I hope that radiographers in Singapore will continue to draw inspiration from the foresight and dedication of our pioneers in improving healthcare for Singaporeans.

10.         The future is promising for Diagnostic Radiography and Radiation Therapy and I would like to urge you to continue to strive to better yourselves, and your profession with the interests of patients and their families at the heart of your mission. I encourage conference delegates to share your knowledge and experiences and form collaborative networks.

11.         I congratulate the Singapore Society of Radiographers in organizing and hosting this major event in Singapore. I wish all of you a fruitful and enriching time at the conference.  Thank you.

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