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07 Nov 2022

9th Mar 2022

   The Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue our ongoing efforts to provide affordable healthcare. Beyond healthcare costs, we have been taking active steps to safeguard the well-being of our workforce – the backbone of our healthcare system to ensure the delivery of overall better care.

Ongoing Efforts to Provide Affordable Healthcare

Expansion of chronic conditions under the Chronic Disease Management Programme

From 1 July 2022, three new conditions will be added to the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP), bringing the total number of approved chronic conditions under CDMP to 23. These are gout, allergic rhinitis, and chronic hepatitis B.

With these newly added conditions, CDMP will benefit about 134,000 existing polyclinic patients and Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), and Pioneer Generation (PG) and Merdeka Generation (MG) cardholders who can tap on MediSave and/or CHAS subsidies to better manage these conditions in the community.

In addition, with this expansion, more than 60% of chronic attendances at polyclinics would be covered under CDMP.

MOH will continually review the list of conditions covered under CDMP to better meet the needs of Singaporeans.

Safeguard the Well-being of our Workforce

Supporting the development and wellness of junior doctors

6.   MOH has been working with the healthcare institutions and relevant agencies to improve the well-being of healthcare workers, including junior doctors. Various initiatives have been put in place at the national and hospital levels, based on feedback from the young doctors, their families and department heads, on issues such as working hours, night calls and working conditions.

At the national level, MOH has been working with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) to ensure adherence of working hours and call requirements for Postgraduate Year 1 doctors. For residents, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has stipulated restrictions on residents’ working hours and call requirements. These restrictions on working hours also apply to the medical officers.

Junior doctors’ wellness workgroups were also formed to address specific issues related to junior doctors’ well-being and engender a more conducive work environment that promotes mutual respect amongst healthcare workers and their peers. Staff can also provide feedback on disruptive workplace behaviour via confidential communication channels so that timely interventions can be made.

To further look into junior doctors’ wellness and provide recommendations to improve their well-being at the systemic and national level, the National Wellness Committee for Junior Doctors (NWC-JD) was set up in December 2021. The NWC-JD will co-create solutions with various stakeholders, including junior doctors, to improve the overall well-being of our junior doctors.

The Committee will focus on three key areas:  

a)   Junior manpower and workflow models: The Committee will review current workflow models, manpower and work hour norms and explore the viability of different call systems, while ensuring that training requirements are not compromised.

b)   Career development and training for junior doctors: To better support junior doctors’ development, the Committee will reassess the career and training opportunities available, so that the junior doctors are better equipped to perform their roles and have more career options in the public healthcare sector.

Engagement, empowerment and mental wellness: The Committee will look into ways to improve engagement with junior doctors, empower their voices to be heard and better support junior doctors in their mental wellness. They will work with key stakeholders to promote a more inclusive culture where junior doctors can feel safe in speaking out on their mental wellness.

The Committee is chaired by Dr Daphne Khoo, Deputy Director of Medical Services, Healthcare Performance Group, MOH. It comprises representatives from MOH, MOH Holdings, SMC, and senior and junior clinicians from all three healthcare clusters, including resident and non-resident junior doctors. We will continuously monitor the well-being of junior doctors and the effectiveness of the measures introduced.

Establishing a Tripartite Workgroup to prevent abuse and harassment of healthcare workers

   There has been a rise in the number of abuse and harassment cases of our public healthcare workers over the past few years. This is in spite of public healthcare workers coming under enhanced protection under the Protection against Harassment Act (POHA). Furthermore, many healthcare workers may hesitate to lodge official complaints and police reports out of compassion and empathy that the aggressor is distressed. COVID-19 has also drawn attention to protecting healthcare workers beyond the public sector, highlighting a need to close the gap and extend support to the private and community care workforce.

We established a new Tripartite Workgroup for the Prevention of Abuse and Harassment of Healthcare Workers in March 2022, which will spearhead a coordinated national effort to prevent the abuse and harassment of healthcare workers in the public, private and community care sectors. The Workgroup includes representatives from MOH, the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union, public healthcare clusters, community care partners, and private healthcare providers.

The Tripartite Workgroup will look into the following areas:

a)   Develop, coordinate and drive the implementation of strategies and practices targeting the prevention of staff abuse and harassment in the healthcare sector;

Raise public awareness of what constitutes abuse and harassment of healthcare workers and reach out to healthcare workers on the support available to them; and

Establish processes to ensure that these initiatives are being implemented.

This will enable a more holistic approach towards assuring all healthcare workers that there are concerted efforts made to prevent and address abuse and harassment directed at them.

9 MARCH 2022