4. 为了让中医药能更有力地辅助现代医疗，我们必须重视中医药的发展和现代化，搭起中医与现代医学的沟通桥梁。卫生部在去年与中医界展开了多次意见收集和讨论，希望通过大家的合作集思广益，为中医界的未来发展做出更好的规划。其中一个重要的共识是, 中医药的发展需要通过医学教育、临床实践与科研三方面的互相融合来积极推动，把中医界推到另一个高峰。
Mr Loh Kooi Cheng, President of Public Free Clinic Society
Board of Committee Members of Public Free Clinic Society
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon. Today marks the 46th anniversary of Public Free Clinic Society’s (PFCS) and I am honoured to join you in celebrating this milestone. 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 low-income families, regardless of race or religion.
2. COVID-19 has affected economies and lives around the whole world this year, and Singapore is no exception. To keep our TCM practitioners safe, in February and March, MOH had arranged for eligible TCM clinics to collect free surgical masks, and distributed hand sanitisers to TCM charity organisations. In April, the Multi-Ministry Task Force implemented the Circuit Breaker, and all non-essential social and business services had to be suspended. As part of our efforts to support seniors in accessing essential services during the circuit break period, MOH had allowed registered TCM practitioners to continue seeing patients and dispensing herbal medicine. Today, with the continued cooperation and support of Singaporeans and organisations, including the TCM community, we have managed to keep COVID-19 infections under control and are now moving towards Phase Three of re-opening on 28 December. While this is a significant milestone, the journey ahead is still long and we will need to stay vigilant and united, in order to overcome COVID-19.
3. TCM has been in Singapore for more than 100 years and it holds a special place in our healthcare system. Faced with a rapidly ageing population and increasing chronic disease prevalence, TCM can play an important complementary role in addressing these challenges. For example, at PFCS, I understand that 80% of their patients are aged 51 and above.
4. To strengthen the complementary role of TCM in our healthcare system, it is important to continuously develop and modernise TCM practice and build a bridge between TCM and modern medicine. Last year, MOH organised multiple engagement sessions with the TCM community to gather feedback and suggestions on how to further the development of TCM in Singapore. One key takeaway was that the integration of TCM research, clinical practice and education is essential for the sustained development of TCM.
5. While a key part of the development of TCM includes learning from the experience of senior TCM practitioners, it is just as important to engage in TCM research, so that we can ascertain the efficacy of TCM treatments and advance TCM practice, moving from an experience-based to evidence-based medicine. I encourage TCM organisations to tap on the MOH TCM Research Grant to initiate more TCM research projects. I am happy to learn that PFCS had recently upgraded their electronic clinical record system and leveraged it to start their research initiative, allowing their research workgroup to use the information captured to evaluate the efficacies of TCM treatments rendered to their patients.
6. In the area of clinical practice, TCM emphasises “syndrome differentiation” and individualised treatments. As we slowly build up TCM research evidence, I urge TCM organisations to come together to discuss how we can combine research evidence with the clinical experience of local TCM practitioners to establish basic clinical practice standards and guidelines for TCM treatments. This will help TCM to speak a modern language, uplift standards and allow the western medical practitioners to better understand and accept TCM.
7. In the area of education, MOH has implemented mandatory continuing professional education (CPE) for TCM practitioners since April 2020. Although COVID-19 has disrupted the conventional methods of learning in classroom or conference settings, I am glad to know that TCM CPE training providers have adapted quickly and moved CPE learning to online platforms, which were well-received by the TCM community. I would like to take this chance to encourage TCM practitioners to utilise the MOH TCM Development Grant which provides funding support for up to 80% of CPE course fees, capped at $200 per calendar year. The deadline for online application is 31 December every year.
8. Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all individuals and organisations that have been supporting PFCS. Your generosity has enabled PFCS to make continuous improvements and benefit more Singaporeans.
9. I hope PFCS will continue to keep up the good work in the development of TCM in Singapore. I wish PFCS success for your 46th anniversary celebration. Thank you.