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Professor Yeoh Khay Guan, Chief Executive, National University Health System
Professor Quek Swee Chye, Chairman of Medical Board, National University Hospital 
Ladies and gentlemen
Distinguished guests
1. It is my pleasure to join you today at the official launch of the National University Centre for Trauma and its accompanying Symposium. Being here brings back a lot of memories. As many of you may know, I started my own medical journey here at the National University Hospital and after a number of years working in general surgery and hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, I was also involved in the delivery of trauma care. And now, we have come to see how we have progressed in this journey, to launch a Centre dedicated to trauma and trauma survivorship, I think it is a remarkable milestone that we do want to commemorate this morning.
2. In Singapore, trauma is one of the leading causes of death from 2020 to 2022, accounting for about 2% of all deaths.
3. The burden associated with trauma can be far-reaching – with a large proportion of individuals living with temporary or permanent disabilities after their trauma injuries. They often require extended medical treatment, including short to long-term rehabilitative care post-discharge. These traumatic experiences can, at times, impact their mental and emotional health.
Improving Trauma Care Delivery in Singapore
4. The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been regularly reviewing the organisation and delivery of trauma services by our public hospitals, starting with the establishment of the National Trauma Committee in 2008, strengthening the provision of trauma care and improving trauma care standards at our healthcare institutions.
5. We have since re-organised the system in Singapore into regional trauma groups or networks. This ensures each region is sufficiently equipped with a comprehensive range of specialties and competencies to manage and support trauma cases appropriately and in a timely manner. The regional trauma groups have worked hard to ensure high standards of care that are maintained in both anchor and partnering hospitals.
6. In the western region of Singapore, in particular, the National University Hospital (NUH) is the anchor hospital supported by its two partner hospitals – the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) and the Alexandra Hospital (AH). Working alongside the Singapore Civil Defence Force, this regional approach towards a pre-hospital trauma diversion protocols has allowed us to better coordinate trauma care and right-site patients. Major trauma cases are diverted to NUH, while those with less severe trauma are brought expediently to NTFGH and in the future, to AH too.
7. The National Trauma Registry managed by MOH’s National Trauma Unit has comprehensive data on trauma injuries, their aetiology and outcomes. This registry provides an illustrative trend on the burden of trauma to better inform and guide policy planning to improve trauma care. 
8. The western regional group developed the first cluster-wide quality benchmarks for trauma in 2020. These indices, which track both acute care processes and outcome measures, have helped to guide NUHS’ trauma quality programmes, and serve as a reference for the National Trauma Committee in establishing and developing a national set of benchmarks.
Injury Prevention and Efforts
9. While MOH continues to review our trauma healthcare system, much needs to be done upstream. The current model is proactive at the pre-hospital and hospital level. But it is equally imperative to create and raise the awareness of how to prevent injuries in the community.
10. With Singapore’s ageing society, falls prevention among seniors is an important area for injury prevention. At the national level, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) has introduced various initiatives to support our seniors in reducing their risk of falls. These include the ‘Live Well, Age Well’ programme which promotes healthy ageing through group exercise sessions and interactive health workshops, as well as the “Steady Lah” initiative, developed with the allied health team from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which targets seniors who are identified as being at risk or showing early signs of frailty. I am pleased to share that both initiatives have been gradually rolled out nationwide and have already made a tangible difference, benefiting over 1,200 seniors in 2023 alone.
11. Connecting to the broader efforts in injury prevention, the new National University Centre for Trauma will address critical aspects of trauma care, including clinical operations, audit and benchmarking, injury prevention, survivorship and research. Under its outreach and advocacy umbrella, the Centre will leverage data to drive its outreach initiatives to increase the awareness of injury prevention. The Centre has been reaching out to primary schools, Active Ageing Centres and non-governmental organisations to educate and raise awareness among children, the elderly and migrant workers. These efforts go a long way to reduce the burden of trauma and in particular, trauma injuries.
12. Surviving a trauma is a deeply personal and life-changing experience. I am heartened that the National University Centre for Trauma has set up Singapore’s first trauma survivorship programme to help those recovering from trauma, by providing support and resources. It also provides a sense of community for trauma survivors. This is a commendable effort in the holistic care of our patients.
13. In closing, I would like to congratulate NUHS and the team led by the Department of Surgery, their partner hospitals and stakeholders, on the official launch of the National University Centre for Trauma. I am confident that we will continue to excel in our efforts to mitigate the impact of trauma and promote healing, resilience, and recovery among individuals affected by trauma experiences. Once again, congratulations. Have a good morning. Thank you very much.

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