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Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman, Agency for Integrated Care (AIC)


Mr Tan Kwang Cheak, Chief Executive Officer, AIC


Distinguished guests, award recipients


Ladies and gentlemen


1.                Good morning. It is such a pleasure to see a room full of people all excited for this event today. This is the first combined ceremony for the Community Care Manpower Development Award (CCMDA) and Community Care Excellence Awards (CCEA).


2.                Today, more than 140 of you will receive the CCMDA, and 378 individuals and improvement teams will receive the CCEA. This is the first time we are combining both award ceremonies to reward and recognise both organisations and individuals for their pursuit of excellence and lifelong learning. The two are closely linked, as investing and developing our workforce will improve our service excellence and quality of care for patients. In the same vein, being able to provide excellent patient care is a driving purpose for our healthcare professionals to upgrade their skills and training.




3.                The CCMDA is a study award for staff to pursue further studies, such as for degree programmes and post-graduate qualifications. Since 2017, CCMDA has conferred 808 awards, and has helped the Community Care sector to uplift skills and professional standards and attract talent to the sector. With this award, the Community Care organisations are better supported in attracting, developing and retaining talented individuals to serve in the Community Care sector.


4.                Many CCMDA awardees are at different stages of life and face different challenges. For fresh entrants, you may be new to the sector, and unsure of what to expect. For in-service awardees, upgrading yourself in a formal capacity is not easy, especially when you have to go back to school and face examinations again, while family commitments compete for your attention. What unifies all of you is your willingness to learn, and your demonstration of excellence and commitment. We are here to recognise and celebrate that. Take heart from knowing that this investment of time and effort will not only enrich yourself, but also the lives of those you will help.


5.                I want to share the story of Mr Jonathan Ee who is here today. His background is in pharmaceutical sciences, but he found that as a pharmacy technician, his work took place mostly at the back end. He would only meet patients once, when dispensing medication. He wanted to interact more with his patients and play a greater role in their care. Over time, he decided to explore a career in physiotherapy instead, so that he could encourage and work with patients throughout their rehabilitation process. Today, with the support of his employer Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, he is pursuing a degree in physiotherapy. We wish him a long and fulfilling career, journeying with his patients and seeing them through their recovery.




6.                The Community Care Excellence Award, or CCEA, separately, is an award designed to honour outstanding staff contributions in service excellence and improvement projects in clinical quality, client experience, productivity and digitalisation.


7.                Since its inception in 2014, the CCEA has steadily grown to be recognised as a mark of quality within the sector. In 2023, the CCEA underwent a transition from a biennial award cycle to an annual one, ensuring timely recognition for deserving staff. To date, AIC has proudly conferred 2,248 awards to exemplary community care organisations and staff. This year’s awardees showcase a diverse range of projects and initiatives, and each award is a testament to the unwavering commitment to service excellence, quality care and the collaborative spirit that thrive within the sector.


8.                We want to encourage healthcare workers to be open to adapting and playing different roles in the sector. There are challenges coming our way as Singapore ages, and we face strong competition from other countries for the finite pool of healthcare manpower. Even with limited resources, we can continue to provide quality care for Singaporeans if we adapt. This can include upskilling to meet the increasingly complex and varied needs of patients or learning to work cohesively and efficiently with healthcare workers who come from other countries. Most importantly, we must be bold and challenge the conventional ways of providing care and running operations.


9.                One example is how St Luke’s Hospital encourages patients to increase their fluid intake. The elderly are prone to dehydration, and this is a concern especially with more frequent and intense heat waves. At the same time, they may refuse or forget to drink, sometimes due to conditions like dementia. To address this, the team at St Luke’s Hospital introduced low-sugar flavoured drinks. Not only did this increase fluid intake by more than 50%, the staff now spend less time serving drinks because patients readily accept the drinks without the need for encouragement.


10.           Not all solutions may involve direct patient care. For example, NTUC Health faced a problem with the manpower-intensive process of transporting linen and meals within its nursing homes. With funding support from the Productivity and Digitalisation Grant, they redesigned these processes and switched to using automated guided vehicles for these tasks instead. With this change, they now save more than 10 man-hours each day. They have also switched to reusable laundry bags and saved more than 20,000 plastic bags each year.


11.           There are other innovative projects that have also qualified for the CCEA this year, and I hope you get inspired by the posters outside if you have yet to see them.



12.           As the Community Care sector continues to grow and prepare for the needs of Singapore’s ageing population, we hope to see more Community Care organisations tap on both CCMDA and CCEA to raise the professional skills and standards of their workforce, as well as to drive service excellence. Dr Gerard Ee gave a description earlier about how the evolving demands and expectations are increasing in a society that is ageing very quickly. We will definitely need to look at investing time and looking at how we can do things better and more efficiently. This is part of AIC’s focus on sector enablement to improve quality, manpower, digitalisation and innovation.


13.           The individuals and teams who are receiving the CCMDA and CCEA today have shown us that we can collectively play a part to forge a stronger way forward for the healthcare sector and that is through upskilling, adapting to meet changing needs, and challenging prevailing norms. Congratulations to all our award recipients! You have earned this recognition, and I wish you a fulfilling journey ahead.


Thank you very much.

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