Speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health at the opening of Stroke Support Station Wellness Centre, 17 May 2016

Mrs Teo Poh Yim, Chairman, S3

Distinguished Guests 

1.     Good morning. I am happy to be here today to launch the opening of the S3 Wellness Centre, Singapore’s first dedicated wellness centre for stroke survivors and their caregivers.

2.     Even as we gather here this morning, our thoughts are with Minister Heng. Minister Heng remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Our team at Tan Tock Seng Hospital continues to provide care for him. We are grateful for the team, for their hard work for taking care of Minister Heng as well as many other stroke patients in the hospital. Let us continue to keep Minister Heng and his family in our thoughts and our prayers.


3.     Stroke is a serious medical illness. But with advances in medical care and stroke treatment, more patients are likely to survive a stroke. However, many stroke survivors need help to regain their functions and re-integrate back into their daily lives.


4.     I am heartened that S3 has taken the initiative to set up this Wellness Centre, to address the needs of stroke survivors and their caregivers holistically. It will be looking into a survivor’s mobility, socio-emotional and psychological needs. Here in the S3 Wellness Centre, a stroke survivor can expect to undergo the R.E.A.L recovery programme, which stands for Re-learn and Enjoy Active Living. This includes rehabilitation sessions, equipping patients with skills of daily living such as grocery shopping or preparing breakfast, and Mindfulness Awareness Practice which helps build resilience through relaxation techniques. All these efforts help stroke survivors re-integrate into society and return to their normal activities as soon as possible.


5.     Innovative care models like S3’s support my Ministry’s efforts to transform our healthcare system to be one that can meet our growing needs in a cost effective and sustainable way beyond 2020.

6.     First, we need to move beyond the hospital to the community. We are moving away from a care system that is centred around our hospital, to shift more care to the community. To do so, we are changing our care delivery models and linking up care more effectively through our Regional Health Systems.

7.     I am glad to see that S3 has developed a partnership with National University Health System (NUHS). S3 and NUHS will work together to better understand the needs of stroke survivors. This will help S3 create effective post-stroke survivor programmes and education. NUHS will gain insights from this partnership that will help formulate their future strategies in developing a holistic and community-based healthcare support system for stroke patients.

8.     Second, we have to move beyond providing quality to creating greater value. We need to develop ways of making best use of our limited resources to ensure that our care systems can remain sustainable. S3 is looking beyond traditional sources of manpower and is leveraging on the community to meet its manpower needs. S3 actively engages volunteers and trains them to play an integral part in its care delivery. The high levels of involvement of trained volunteers, including past stroke survivors and care-givers could pave the way towards a more cost effective and sustainable model of care.

9.     Third, we have to move beyond healthcare to health. We need to invest upstream in health and education to empower individuals to take good care of their health. S3 strongly advocates promotion of stroke awareness through educational workshops. Under the Action Plan for Successful Ageing, the Health Promotion Board through the National Seniors’ Health Programme raises awareness on important health issues such as falls prevention, nutrition, physical activity and stroke. With good health, we can enjoy a better quality of life.

10.     We are also bringing preventive health services closer to Singaporeans. Under the Health Promotion Board (HPB)’s Screen for Life programme, all adults aged forty and above, especially those with no known pre-existing chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension are reminded to go for regular health screenings for chronic diseases and selected cancers, and then to follow-up on any abnormal screen results with their family doctor. This is important because early detection and timely access to appropriate treatment and management will help to prevent the development of downstream complications like stroke.


11.     In closing, let me wish S3 all the best as they continue to create and provide quality and affordable post-stroke support services for patients and their caregivers. With that, I am happy to declare the S3 Wellness Centre open. Thank You.


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