It has been more than three years since NHCS’s cardiology started in Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) to provide cardiac care services to our residents in the north-eastern region. As we embark on a new year, we find out from
Asst Prof Daniel Chong, the newly appointed Head of Cardiology for NHCS@SKH, about the upcoming plans for NHCS@SKH, as well as from
Assoc Prof Jack Tan who shares about his reflections as the former head at NHCS@SKH.
With the ongoing Covid-19 endemic, NHCS@SKH similarly experienced rapid changes faced by healthcare workers. “There was a need for segregation in early 2020 when the pandemic first struck which sped up the timeline for us to deliver a 24/7 acute percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) service at SKH. Notably, during this time, staff such as Dr Mohammed Rizwan also stepped forward to help at the foreign workers’ dormitory and we remain grateful for his support,” expressed Assoc Prof Tan.
The coverage for the cardiology wards was reorganised to reduce infection risk and better protect patients. When other hospitals had to reduce capacity due to the evolving situation then, NHCS@SKH stepped up to provide cardiac services to patients from those hospitals. “Particularly in 2020, NHCS@SKH provided a team to help manage a ward with Covid-19 patients under the supervision of the SKH Infectious Disease physicians,” shared Asst Prof Chong.
In spite of challenges from the pandemic, the patient attendances in both inpatient and outpatient have increased in 2020 and 2021, and notably in interventional procedures as compared to the preceding two years.
Asst Prof Chong added, “New initiatives and capabilities were introduced to cater to the needs of the community such as offering cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Prior to 2020, patients would have to travel to NHCS at SGH Campus to get their MRI scans done. Now, patients living in the north-east region can enjoy greater convenience without having to travel to different institutions.”
Assoc Prof Tan who handed the headship baton over to Asst Prof Chong with effect from 15 January 2022, shares his experience as the first head honcho at NHCS@SKH, “It was fun and the experience was made enjoyable by everyone at SKH and NHCS, from leadership, doctors, nurses, technicians and allied health staff, and the support from all. It was gratifying to see our NHCS@SKH clinic materialising from paper plans to construction and onsite visits, and finally to being physically working here in this building at the end of 2018.
“Unlike NHCS where we were so used to have a big team, for our setup in SKH which is smaller, we require everyone to chip in and work as a team. I am proud to say that the clinicians and various teams at NHCS@SKH have grown and they will definitely continue to deliver high standards of cardiac care under Asst Prof Daniel Chong,” Assoc Prof Tan shared.
Echoing Assoc Prof Tan’s sentiments, Asst Prof Chong revealed how it is like to work at NHCS@SKH, “SKH is a relatively new hospital that has grown tremendously over the past few years. It has a well-designed set up with state-of-the-art equipment, excellent facilities and some of the best trained staff. This combination is exciting as it means there is room to grow further and explore ways to deliver better quality care for our patients.”
Moving forward, there are plans to roll out a Rapid Cardiac Clinic and Post-Acute Coronary Syndrome Clinic at NHCS@SKH. “With an evidence-based protocol approach and focus, we can provide more comprehensive cardiac care to ensure better health outcomes for our patients,” said Asst Prof Chong.
“Given the many changes expected and unexpected, seen and unforeseen, we will need to be adaptable. There is a need to continually learn, train and improve ourselves, individually and as a team. We will need to be brave, to try new ways of delivering healthcare, and be quick to change for the better,” highlighted Asst Prof Chong, given the advancement and demand in telemedicine services due to the pandemic.
“Having known the staff in NHCS@SKH, some of whom I've worked with for more than 10 years at NHCS, I'm confident we have a team who is able to achieve all the above and more.”
Note: Photos were taken prior to implementation of safe distancing measures.