22 July 2021
My dear colleagues,
In the wink of an eye, 12 years have flown by since I assumed the Chairmanship of SingHealth. That it has passed so quickly is testimony to the amazing journey I have experienced.
It has been a blessing for me to be part of an organisation helmed by a dedicated team that is fully committed to the healthcare of fellow Singaporeans. A team whose commitment and passion is unquestionable, one that is driven by a common purpose of keeping patients at the heart of all you do. SingHealth’s doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, unsung heroes comprising administrative and ancillary staff, and many others form the pillars of SingHealth, contributed to our successes in the advancement of care and pursuit of excellence over the years. All of you do the country proud and I am happy to be able to share this pride.
My journey started with Prof Tan Ser Kiat as GCEO who had built a solid foundation with his team. This team gave Prof Ivy Ng a strong start as she assumed the role of GCEO, SingHealth in 2012. Ser Kiat then continued to offer support and advice and played important roles in the Cluster. Ivy, as they say, hit the ground running. She has led SingHealth with remarkable vision, strategy and execution. Together with the SingHealth Senior Management, she embarked on a mission to transform SingHealth and its institutions. Many supporting functions were centralised for greater efficiency and the group synergies were immensely increased. A major policy was the central employment of doctors.
Talent development and succession planning across the board and especially for leadership positions for doctors, nurses, allied health and key administrative appointments were given a lot of consideration. This went hand in hand with the development of suitable compensation schemes to incentivise and retain staff. In my view, we have done well, given our modest attrition rates.
The term “Academic Medical Centre”, or AMC, was one that many were not familiar with over a decade ago. Yet now, together with our partner Duke-NUS Medical School, the SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC is a leading network that sets out to drive the transformation of healthcare, not just for Singapore but in the region and beyond. One result of this partnership is the formation of Academic Clinical Programmes (ACPs), a cluster-wide framework for all clinical specialties to advance in Academic Medicine. 15 ACPs have been established since.
My term as Chairman covered a period of major infrastructure development in the SGH Campus. The Academia was about to be completed and new National Heart Centre Singapore building was being planned. These buildings, together with Outram Community Hospital, have been launched in succession and are the newest additions to the SGH Campus. The new National Cancer Centre Singapore building is currently being built and will house in its basement, the Proton Therapy Centre. This particular project is one that I am personally very passionate about and though it was difficult getting approval for, with the SingHealth Board’s unstinting support, we succeeded. In Singapore’s northeast, we undertook the building of Sengkang General Hospital and Sengkang Community Hospital. Now fully opened, these hospitals not only provide excellent care to residents in the region, but work with community groups to keep residents healthy and engaged.
“I would like to thank the SingHealth family for giving me the most rewarding and interesting experience in my life. It has been an honour to watch at close range how you care for our country’s most important asset, its people, with passion. To journey with you and earn your friendship has been my greatest reward. I will always be rooting for SingHealth."
Our journey together was not without its challenges. We faced some of the most difficult times together, such as the hepatitis-C incident, the cyberattack and exfiltration of our patients’ data, and more recently, the fight against COVID-19. It is during these testing times that the SingHealth spirit of courage, conviction and resolve truly shines. As one SingHealth family, you stood as one, accepted responsibility for any mistakes, worked together to resolve problems and supported one another to keep morale high. Nothing else could have motivated me more as Chairman than such a display of altruism. We have also celebrated many highs, achievements and accolades together – there are simply too many to cite. The most recent milestone we have reached is SGH’s bicentennial anniversary and the celebration of 200 years of medicine in Singapore. Singapore is indeed fortunate to have such a team serving in its largest public healthcare cluster.
Closest to my heart are our people. Our nurses have never failed to impress me with the passion and devotion they bring to their job. Ever cheerful, our nurses are both key caretakers of our patients and our ambassadors. I beam with great pride each year when our nurses receive recognition at the President’s Nurse Award and other prestigious awards.
Our team of dedicated doctors who devote their lives to treating patients are exemplary. They believe in tending to the healthcare of fellow Singaporeans and work tirelessly to give their best. I, together with those whom you have healed and cared for, are very appreciative of your devotion to duty.
I also want to thank our dedicated pharmacists and all in the allied health team, without whose invaluable contributions we will not be able to give the quality of treatment that we stand for.
And to all in the administrative and ancillary team, thank you for keeping the engines running and helping to bring everything together behind the scenes. It has been my privilege to work alongside all of you. Our security personnel, porters, receptionists and more, often are the first touchpoint of any visitor to our institutions. Their kind approach to our patients and those accompanying them are important in helping them manage their emotions and mindset as they enter a healthcare facility. Thank you for handling this difficult task.
There is so much more to say, and I hope those whom I have met over the years have heard my sentiments one way or another. I have always enjoyed visiting our institutions and connecting with our staff. My lunches with selected colleagues gave me an opportunity to exchange views and feel the pulse of the Cluster and to personally convey appreciation from the Board.
So, as I step down as your Chairman, I would like to thank the SingHealth family for giving me the most rewarding and interesting experience in my life. It has been an honour to watch at close range how you care for our country’s most important asset, its people, with passion. To journey with you and earn your friendship has been my greatest reward. I will always be rooting for SingHealth. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow board members over the years, who have given me support, wise counsel and guided me as partners in this fulfilling journey.
I am confident that with Wai Keung, my successor, you are in good hands.
May I wish all of you good health, happiness and success. God bless!
Mr Peter SeahChairman (2009-2021), SingHealth
SingHealth staff appreciation event for Mr Peter Seah (held on 22 July 2021)
Mr Peter Seah, Chairman (2009-2021), SingHealth
Prof Ivy Ng, GCEO, SingHealth
Mr Peter Seah, Mr Cheng Wai Keung, Chairman, SingHealth together with the event emcee, Prof William Hwang, Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore
Group photo with SingHealth Board of Directors, SingHealth senior management and institution heads
Special performance by nurses from Singapore General Hospital
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