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25 Aug 2018

16th Aug 2018

Distinguished colleagues and guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening.

1.       It gives me great pleasure to join you at the 11th National Medical Excellence Awards (NMEA) Ceremony. This evening, we will recognise a few outstanding professionals who have made significant achievements and contributions in advancing medical excellence.

Clinical Practice, Education and Research Fundamental to Medical Excellence

2.       In healthcare, the fields of clinical practice, education and research are closely inter-linked and mutually reinforcing.  Sound and up-to-date education and training are fundamental to robust clinical practice and research.  New research evidence and discoveries help inform education, advance clinical practice and improve patient care.  In turn, clinical priorities shape our education and research emphases. And real-life clinical settings provide essential support to education and research efforts.

3        To achieve medical excellence, we need all these three parts in our healthcare system to be excellent.  They also need to be aligned in the same directions and working in concert.  Therefore, since 2007, the NMEA awards have recognised outstanding healthcare professionals in clinical practice, education and research.

About the Winners

4.       This evening, we are gathered here to celebrate the achievements of five outstanding individuals and two exceptional teams who have raised the banner of medical excellence in Singapore. Through their clinical, education and research contributions, each award winner has made our healthcare system a better one for Singaporeans.  

5.       Associate Professor Patrick Tseng from the National University Centre for Oral Health, is awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Award.  Patrick is a familiar face at MOH, where he served as Chief Dental Officer from July 2006 until April this year.  A pioneer in Endodontics with 33 years of clinical experience, Patrick is highly respected both locally and internationally.  One of his notable contributions is working with industry to develop manual rotatory Endodontic files that are now widely used in dental training programmes throughout Asia, Europe and other parts of the world.

6.       Associate Professor Toh Han Chong from the National Cancer Centre is the recipient of the National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award. Han Chong has dedicated his working life towards fighting cancer, and his work on immunotherapy has earned him national and international recognition. Earlier this year, Han Chong, together with a consortium of researchers from A*STAR, Duke-NUS Medical School, National Cancer Centre, National University Cancer Institute and National University of Singapore, was awarded a $25 million Open-Fund Large Collaborative Grant administered by the National Medical Research Council (NMRC). The project seeks to better understand virus-induced cancers and the interactions between cancer cells and the immune cells so that the cancer cells can be targeted and destroyed. We look forward to the success of the project.

7.       The National Outstanding Clinical Quality Champion Award this year is awarded to Associate Professor Wong Moh Sim, currently Deputy Chief Quality Officer at the National Healthcare Group (NHG).  Moh Sim has been playing a pivotal role in driving, implementing and evaluating strategies and initiatives for patient safety and clinical risk management at different platforms and organisations, including Alexandra Hospital (AH) and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH). Today, she continues to build a strong culture of safety and quality by advocating two-way communication and staff training to sustain the positive change.

8.       This year, we have two National Outstanding Clinician Educator Awardrecipients. They are Associate Professor Chen Fun Gee from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Associate Professor Lim Boon Leng from Singapore General Hospital (SGH).   Fun Gee has been contributing to medical education since 1987. He was involved not only in shaping education in his own specialty Anaesthesia, but also in the setting up of the specialty of Intensive Care in Singapore.  Today, he continues to chart the direction of the graduate diploma and postgraduate training programmes, with the unwavering aim to advance healthcare standards in Singapore.

9.       Boon Leng is well known for pushing boundaries in raising the bar for postgraduate medical education and training, to ensure that generations of clinicians and educators are well-trained. He was one of the pioneer intensivists to initiate the Fundamental Critical Care Support Course in 2000.  This course is still running today to train anaesthesiologists, respiratory and emergency physicians, nurses and allied health professionals involved in the care of ICU patients.  In his current role as Deputy Group Director of Graduate Education in SingHealth, he continues to create a nurturing environment for teaching and learning, and driving healthcare training policy.

10.      There are two recipients for the National Clinical Excellence Team Awards this year – one supporting our healthcare drive Beyond Hospital to Community and the other pioneering our shift Beyond Quality to Value.

11.      The first is the team driving the Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health (REACH) programme led by Associate Professor Daniel Fung at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). Together with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and National University Hospital (NUH), the formation of mobile clinical teams allowed children and adolescents to receive timely care. This has successfully supported all mainstream schools and Special Education schools. REACH has also built up a strong network of social service organisations and General Practitioner partners for an integrated mental healthcare support system.

12.      The second team award goes to the team from the National University Health System led by Associate Professor Keith Lim. The team developed a Value Driven Outcomes (VDO) methodology and initiative for better value in healthcare, with focus on both outcomes and cost.  Through the use of data and analytics, the team helped NUHS clinicians understand the value of care, reduce unnecessary deviations, adopt best practices and drive optimisation.  The methodology has been extended to 53 projects across NUH, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and National University Polyclinics. The results are promising, with $11 million collective savings as well as improved clinical outcomes in many of the projects.


13.      In closing, let me congratulate all our winners this year.  The awards not only recognise their outstanding achievements, but also spur others towards the common vision of excellence in healthcare for the benefit of Singaporeans.  I wish everyone a pleasant evening ahead.

14.      Thank you.

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