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17 Jan 2013
‘Superstars’ lauded for top health-care service
The Straits Times - pg A10

Singapore General Hospital’s Prof Tan Ban Hock (left) and
National Heart Centre Singapore’s Mr Chia Li Sen both won the top
Superstar prizes at this year’s Singapore Health Quality Service Award.

What does it take to make patients happy?

Sometimes, just those little things like being friendly and willing to spend time with them, according to Associate Professor Tan Ban Hock.

The senior consultant at Singapore General Hospital would know. He is the Superstar Clinician at this year’s Singapore Health Quality Service Award.

The annual event honours health-care workers from the public and private sectors who have demonstrated excellent service. The event, held at Kallang Theatre yesterday, also paid tribute to more than 2,500 staff from 19 health-care institutions.

Prof Tan, who heads the hospital’s infectious diseases department, was one of five professionals who bagged the top “Superstar” award. This prize has only one winner from each category – clinician, nursing, allied health, administration, and ancillary.

“Often, it’s the very simple things, like listening to them and being polite,” said Prof Tan, 47.

“Sometimes you don’t even realise you’ve done something to make them happy.”

Another Superstar was patient care assistant Chia Li Sen, who won the award in the ancillary category. Last year, the 62-year-old, who has worked at the National Heart Centre Singapore for almost a decade, was also presented with an internal award for his dedication to patients.

He teaches colleagues simple Hokkien phrases to help them understand patients, and even acts as a translator when communication difficulties arise. “It helps to always put yourself in the patients’ shoes to understand how they feel,” said Mr Chia.

A record 19 health-care institutions took part in the awards, 10 per cent more than last year. Professor Ivy Ng, group chief executive of event organiser SingHealth, said the ageing population would boost demand for quality health care.

“We must show genuine care, and build trust and rapport to engage our patients and their families with professionalism and empathy,” she said.

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