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Speech by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry Health, at Public Free Clinic Society’s 49th Anniversary Ceremony, at Public Free Clinic Society Geylang HQ, on Sunday 26 November 2023.

Mr Seow Ser Fatt, President of Public Free Clinic Society

Board Members

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

A very good afternoon to all of you. Thank you for inviting me here. We are here to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Public Free Clinic Society (PFCS) – 49 distinguished years, I am only slightly older. 

2. Over the past 49 years, PFCS has given back to society by providing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) services to needy patients regardless of race or religion.

3. You have committed to offering affordable TCM services to low-income families, and I would really like to thank our volunteers, all the businesses and enterprises for the support which is very important. Thank you very much.

4. Since 2000, TCM practitioners have been regulated by the TCM Practitioners Board (TCMPB). Today, there are more than 3,000 registered TCM practitioners providing treatment in various community settings, such as private TCM clinics and medical halls. 

5. The Ministry of Health (MOH) recognises that the basic tenets of TCM philosophy on healthy living, a good diet, and modification of risk factors are aligned with the objectives of Healthier SG, especially the focus on preventive care. 

Contributions of TCM Practitioners to Healthier SG

6. As key touchpoints in the community, TCM practitioners are well placed to encourage healthy lifestyle changes amongst residents, the clients and the patients. MOH will continue to work closely with TCMPB to improve the professional standards of practitioners, especially the younger generation, to ensure the sustained development of TCM here in Singapore.

Developing the local TCM sector 

7. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will be offering a four-year TCM degree from next August, and MOH will also be rolling out a one-year TCM Clinical Training Programme (CTP), from January. The CTP provides opportunities for trainees to undergo structured training and assessment with experienced mentors in four participating TCM training institutions, including PFCS. I thank PFCS for having participated actively and making constructive suggestions to the CTP. Your efforts will contribute to the mentoring of the next generation of TCM practitioners.

8. To retain and draw more talent into the TCM industry, MOH’s new “TCM Career and Remuneration Guidelines” will also provide greater clarity for career progression for practitioners, and encourage the development and improvement of professional standards for the sector. 

9. I am glad to hear that PFCS is planning to employ fresh graduates from NTU to join its specially designed dual-track career pathway as clinical practitioner-administrators. 

10. To sustain the long-term development of TCM, it is also essential to strengthen research. This is vital for continuous improvement, and I am pleased to learn that PFCS has started on research projects on blood sugar levels, and the correlation between TCM body constitution and recovery from COVID-19 infection. These are good research endeavors that will impact the way we view and manage chronic diseases. I look forward to hearing more when the results of your research projects are available. 


11. In closing, I wish PFCS success in all your future endeavours and hope that you, your community, your volunteers, supporters and donors will continue to work with MOH to bring TCM to greater heights. Thank you very much.

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