3. 中医药在养生保健与预防疾病方面有独特的理论。在新加坡人口正迅速老龄化、慢性疾病日益普遍，和新传染病的出现之际，中医药在新加坡医疗保健体系中扮演着重要的辅助角色。据我了解，大众医院的病人有近百分之80是超过50 岁的。为了更好地为他们提供中医治疗，大众医院设立了一所“老年病中医治疗中心”, 以更好地照顾这些年长病人的医疗保健需求，治疗慢性疾病或一些常见病痛、例如身体疼痛，胃口不佳和失眠等。中心自2019年设立以来，已有超过600位年长患者受惠于相关服务，但中心因冠病疫情而得暂停服务。希望疫情好转后，中心的服务能尽早恢复，继续服务大众。
[English translation for reference]
Mr Loh Kooi Cheng, Public Free Clinic Society President
Public Free Clinic Society Board of Directors
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to join you today at Public Free Clinic Society’s (PFCS’s) 47th anniversary celebrations. Over the past 47 years, PFCS has been providing affordable TCM treatment to the lower income. I would like to express my gratitude and congratulations to PFCS’s President Mr Loh Kooi Cheng and all directors, TCM physicians and staff. I hope that PFCS will continue its charitable spirit and remain steadfast in its philosophy of offering affordable and good quality Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) services to all Singaporeans.
2. The world is facing the public health crisis of the century since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020. In Singapore, it has been over 20 months into the fight against COVID-19 and I would like to thank you for your cooperation and support, adhering to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) advisories and encouraging your elderly patients to come forward to get vaccinated. As of mid-November 2021, we have administered more than 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and our vaccination rate at 85% is one of the highest in the world. As healthcare professionals, I hope that eligible TCM practitioners (TCMPs) will also register for your booster vaccination and encourage your elderly patients to do the same so as to further reduce their risk of severe outcomes such as developing severe illness and death. Let us all continue to work together and do our part, so that we can transit to living with COVID-19 sooner.
3. TCM has its unique theory on health and disease prevention. At a time when Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly, chronic diseases are becoming more common and new infectious diseases are emerging, TCM plays an important complementary role in Singapore’s healthcare system. I understand that nearly 80 per cent of PFCS’s patients are aged above 50 years. To better provide TCM treatment for these patients, PFCS has set up a Geriatrics TCM Treatment Centre to cater to their healthcare needs to better manage symptoms of chronic diseases and other conditions such as aches and pain, poor appetite and insomnia. Since the Centre opened in 2019, over 600 elderly patients have benefitted from its service. However due to COVID-19 restrictions, these services have been suspended and we hope it can resume soon.
4. We live in a fast-paced, data-driven era where there is abundance of information, and greater inter-disciplinary interactions. To keep up with times, TCMPs must continually learn and apply new knowledge and skills, to better treat patients and further their careers. The development of TCM in Singapore is closely linked to training and talent development of TCMPs. Hence, we are working with major TCM organisations to set up two workgroups. The first is to review and look into the feasibility of enhancing our local clinical training programme for newly registered TCMPs, for example by setting up a standardised training curriculum and assessment framework, including possible clinical rotation with participating TCM institutions. The other workgroup will look into how we can enhance the employability and career development of TCMPs, so as to retain young talents in the field of TCM, through different pathways to support those involved in roles like management, research or teaching. I have met with the members of the two workgroups at end November and I look forward to their recommendations on supporting the long-term sustainability and development of TCM in Singapore.
5. Looking ahead, the future development of TCM requires the continuous collective effort of the government and stakeholders in the TCM sector. I hope our efforts will contribute to the continued growth and progress of TCM in Singapore to better serve the people. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Singaporeans from all walks of life for their continued support to PFCS, which has enabled PFCS to continue serving the people. Once again, I congratulate PFCS on their contributions over the past 47 years, and hope that they will continue to work hard to raise the professional standards of their TCMPs and promote the development of TCM. Thank you.