Skip to content


Prof Ng Wai Hoe,

Associate Prof Ng Kee Chong,

Associate Prof Yeo Khung Keong and

Associate Prof Gan Wee Hoe


Ms Josie Liow and Mr Chew Kim Soon, Co-Chairs of the SingHealth Patient Advocacy Network and Organising Co-Chairs of the Singapore Health Patient Advocate Connection 2023


Patients, Caregivers and Advocates


Distinguished Guests


1.       I am so happy to be here. I go to a lot of events every weekend, usually the events that uplift me leave the most lasting impression and this is one of them. It is really my pleasure to join you at the Singapore Health Patient Advocate Connection 2023, organised by the SingHealth Patient Advocacy Network (SPAN) – the first patient advocacy group in Singapore.


2.       SPAN plays a vital role in ensuring that patients’ and their caregivers’ voices are heard, and they help to improve how care is delivered in Singapore.


Embracing patient and family voices


3.       This year’s conference theme – “Embracing Patient and Family Voices” is timely, particularly as we roll out major national initiatives. One such initiative is Healthier SG, where a key focus is on empowering Singaporeans to take proactive steps to manage their health and provide support to lead healthier lifestyles. Over the years, the work of patient advocacy has increased in importance.


4.       Today’s gathering represents a significant milestone in our collective journey to embracing patients’ and caregivers’ voices to improve patient safety and their experience with healthcare and empower patients to achieve better health. This was the inspiration behind the Networking Gallery, Singapore Patient Advocate Connection’s (SPACe) signature programme, where patient advocates, organisations, healthcare professionals and interested patients and caregivers share their experiences and thoughts. The first edition of the Networking Gallery last year was well-received, and highlights that people, not processes or IT systems, play the most important role in enabling a strong and supportive healthcare system.


5.       This conference also serves as a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange. I understand that almost 60% of the attendees today are patients and their caregivers, and more than 30% are healthcare workers. We bring together diverse voices, each with your unique perspectives. I encourage you to learn from each other, share best practices and brainstorm strategies to address the challenges that patients face, and hopefully put in motion tangible change.


6.       It is also my hope that you to use this conference to amplify our collective voices. The discussions today should not stay confined at this conference, but ripple into the broader healthcare community, inspiring others to join our cause and strengthen our collective advocacy.


Making healthcare a safe and conducive place for all


7.       Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health’s Tripartite Workgroup for the Prevention of Abuse and Harassment of Healthcare Workers found that more than two in three healthcare workers had witnessed or experienced abuse or harassment in the past year, while about a third of all healthcare workers witnessed or experienced abuse at least once a week.   


8.       As part of efforts to cultivate a mutually safe and respectful environment for patients, families and healthcare staff, I am happy to hear that SPAN has worked in partnership with other SingHealth groups to co-create a “Patient and Healthcare Team Care Pledge”. The process included consultation with close to 100 patients, caregivers and frontline healthcare workers.


9.       The Pledge, which will be officially launched today at SPACe, establishes a common understanding of safety and mutual respect between patients and staff, to forge an even stronger partnership between both parties. 17 patient organisations and support groups, including the Rare Disorders Society Singapore and Diabetes Singapore, have pledged their support for the Pledge. Healthcare institutions are encouraged to put up the Pledge at wards and clinics, and to use it when managing abusive patients and caregivers.


10.      Apart from the Pledge, SingHealth will be implementing a tool to allow healthcare staff to recognise early warning signs of potentially abusive behaviours and harassment in patients and caregivers, along with necessary strategies to de-escalate such situations. Known as STAMP, which stands for Staring, Tone, Anxiety, Mumbling and Pacing, this tool has been used in healthcare systems in other parts of the world to alert healthcare workers on behavioural precursors to violence. STAMP will be rolled out to frontline staff across all SingHealth institutions as a standardised guiding framework to more readily identify and handle potentially abusive behaviour.




11.      SPACe is where collaboration, amplification and education converge to advance the cause of patient advocacy in healthcare. You are all catalysts for change and together we can make a difference in the lives of patients and healthcare workers. 


12.      I wish all of you a fruitful conference. Thank you for taking your time today and hopefully, your efforts ripple beyond this conference to the larger ecosystem. Thank you very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *