Medical News speaks with family physician, Dr Theresa
Yap of Yang & Yap Clinic and Surgery and Dr Emily Ho,
Director of SingHealth Regional Health System who
are partners in fighting diabetes and helping patients
stay well-supported in the community.
Dr Yap: I’ve been practising for the past 35 years. My interest in
treating chronic diseases like diabetes stems from the fact that
there is a great deal I can do for my patients before end-stage
disease or organ damage sets in. We can help to prevent the
disease onset or delay the progression through regular checkups
and monitoring of their lifestyle and diet. I feel a great
sense of satisfaction when I help my patients improve or maintain
their medical conditions.
Dr Ho: As the population ages, there is a need to look after older
individuals in the community who will have multiple chronic
diseases. Holistic care will not only be clinical but should encompass
psychosocial aspects as well.
As the closest touch point for healthcare in the community, a
trusted GP knows his patients and their families intimately and
is in the best position to take care of patients with stable chronic
conditions. GPs are also key to bridging and connecting patients
to other support services like allied health and community
social services. By partnering GPs and ensuring a smooth
handover of care, we can help patients have a more seamless
journey as they transit from hospital to the community.
Dr Yap: The greatest difficulty is to get patients to comply with
lifestyle and diet changes, which is vital for those with diabetes.
I’m a firm believer of early screening because if someone
knows that he is at risk of developing diabetes, he would be
spurred to do something to help himself and comply with the
recommended lifestyle changes.
Dr Ho: Studies have shown that diabetes can run in the family.
In fact, relatives of individuals with Type 2 diabetes are two to
six times more likely to have the disease. To encourage those
who are at-risk to go for early screening, we introduced the
STOP Diabetes programme which offers screening by partner
GPs. By working with GPs, we can ensure timely follow-up and
active management of someone who is at risk or has the disease.
Dr Yap: SingHealth arranges for interested individuals to be
screened at a partner GP clinic near their homes or workplace.
Before the visit, patients would need to complete some forms
to help us understand their medical history and lifestyle better.
The blood test results can usually be collected at the clinic in
two weeks’ time.
If an individual is found to be at-risk or has diabetes, he can
choose to receive follow-up care at the clinic. Or if the condition
turns out to be severe, the patient would be referred for
I started offering the screening to my patients and their family
members since May 2016. Paperwork is involved but once you
get yourself acquainted with the process, it’s a breeze!
Dr Yap: It’s easy to forget to ask the patient’s family members
to come for such tests as busy clinic work can often overwhelm
us. It does take a bit of initiative and the desire to do our part
for society. But I would say it’s a win-win situation – we get to
grow our patient pool, and at the same time, help individuals
at-risk and their loved ones to manage their conditions from
The STOP Diabetes Screening Programme
SingHealth is partnering GPs across the island to offer health screening for parents, siblings and children of individuals with
diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes).
The STOP Diabetes screening programme is part of the SingHealth Regional Health System’s ongoing efforts to partner
community organisations in helping the public embark on preventive health and a healthier lifestyle.
Tel: 6702 5485 / 6702 5486 / 6702 5487
(9.30am – 5pm on Monday to Friday)
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