S R E Sayampanathan

Master (2016-2018)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



15 December 2017

Dear Fellow Academicians


2017 has certainly been an extremely busy and momentous year.  The Academy's Diamond Jubilee celebration at the 51st Singapore-Malaysia Congress of Medicine is one of the many key and memorable highlights this year.  The sixty years journey of the Academy marks many importnat achivements and valuable contributions by Fellow Academicians - past and present.  It is fitting we salute all for having served the profession tirelessly with skills, passion and honour.


As 2017 draws to a close, I join the Academy Council to wish all Fellows Season's Greetings, an enjoyable holiday season and a wonderful New Year in 2018!



As we look forward to 2018, I am pleased to share several of the importatnt agenda which the Academy will endeavour to actively engage our Fellows.




In one of our annual dialogue engagements with MOH senior management, I joined four members of AMS Council on 30 October 2017, to meet Minister Gan Kim Yong, SMS Dr Lam Pin Min, and DMS Dr Benjamin Ong.


We expressed our Fellows’ concerns for patient autonomy in respect to privacy of their health records when uploading of health records becomes mandatory.  However, vital information, including Medik Awas information on drug allergies, diabetic status, being on steroids and anti-coagulants, should be available in some form, either in hard copy or electronically.


Minister Gan elaborated on the importance of accessibility of patient's medical information, especially in an emergency.   Because of this, benevolence to the patient outweighs the issues of privacy of information.  So if the practice of sensitive personal information placed in i-cloud storage with assurance that it will held securely confidential is acceptable to the public, then NEHR should be acceptable.


MOH gave assurance that NEHR data will be secure and should only be accessible by people who needs to view the records.  Also, special arrangements are being looked into for patients who chose to 'opt-out' of NEHR.  Health records of patients who 'opted-out' nevertheless will still be uploaded into the system, but the information will be locked up.  If the patient changes the decision later, the data can be easily ported into the NEHR.


Minister Gan also gave example of a Singaporean patient who had written to him personally on the pressing need to access the patient’s own medical records.  Unfortunately, the patient’s doctor has left the country and is no longer under the purview of SMC.  If the patient’s record had been in the NEHR, it could have easily been unlocked and released to the patient and doctor(s) currently caring for the patient.


We also raised to Minister the issues of hardware and software cost and training for the doctors who are not keeping digital records of their patient's information and data.  Minister assured that MOH will look into this matter and there will be a time period given for all to adapt to the scheme(s).




The Academy will launch the specialty-specific pilot Self-Learning Module (SLM) in January 2018.  The SLM is an initiative in anticipation of the proposed Maintenance of Competency (MOC), which will replace the current Continuing Medical Education (CME) in the near future.


Implemented under the current Category 3B of the CME programme, participants will be able to claim 5 CME points for each satisfactory completion of SLM module related to their specialty.


Over the past few months, Colleges and Chapters under AMS have come together, putting in much time and effort to develop the SLM modules.  To-date, 22 specialty modules have been completed/are near completion.  We encourage Fellows to participate actively in the SLM and provide us with valuable feedback on your learning experience when it is launched.





The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon will deliver a lecture on “Medicine and Law: Comparative Perspectives on Professional Conduct and Discipline” on 14 March 2018.


This will be the first annual lecture under the Office of Professional Affairs.  The inaugural lecture is open to Fellows who are involved in the professional affairs work of the Academy as follows:-


(1) Faculty of Medical Experts (those who have gone through the Medical Expert Witness Training Courses)
(2) Medical Assessors (this is a scheme with Supreme Court)
(3) Medical Mediators (this is a scheme with Singapore Mediation Centre)


These are important work to help ensure high standards of ethics and professionalism amongst specialists and health care delivery in Singapore.


Fellows who are interested to contribute to and support these areas of professional services may contact the Office of Professional Affairs at Tel: 6593 7885 or Email: syairah@ams.edu.sg.





The Council hosted Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Health, to Dinner and Dialogue Session on 27 November as part of the Academy’s annual engagement with MOH Senior Management.



In addition to updating SMS Mr Chee on the Academy’s recent development, the Council also discussed at great length about the issue of medical manpower in Singapore.  It was an engaging, informative and fruitful dialogue and we look forward to future active engagement with the Ministry.






The 2017 Combined Annual Scientific Meeting of the Chapter of Pathologists and Singapore Society of Pathology, titled ‘Updates on Liver Pathology’, was held on 28 October 2017 at the Academia.  The meeting was attended by close to 100 participants.


The Plenary Lecture was delivered by Professor Andrew Clouston, conjoint Visiting Lecturer for the Academy, and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. His timely topic was ‘Fibrosis in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis and Other Chronic Liver Diseases: Pathology, Pathogenesis, and Reversal’.




I would like to remind and urge our Fellow Academicians to support the establishment of the ‘Robert Loh Professorship in Clinical Innovation in Ophthalmology’ which was launched at the Academy’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee Charity Gala Dinner on 22 July 2017, in honour of the pioneering work of the late Dr Robert Loh.


This is an endowed Professorship which will be in perpetuity.  Donations will be tax-exempted and funds raised will be matched 1:1.  For an endowed Professorship, we will need to raise $5M.




The practice of medicine is both an art and a science.  The Academy will continue to uphold this mission with great commitment.  The art of medicine will become increasingly important.  It embraces empathy, sympathy, compassion and other emotional well-being.  Computers and technology will never be able to duplicate or supplement this.  Only healthcare providers can care for patients with a human touch.


For the past 60 years, AMS has stayed committed to both the art and the science of medicine.


In 2018, AMS will continue to develop programmes, so that our Fellows will be able to deliver, in abundance, good and safe medical practice.



Best Wishes

Dr S R E Sayampanathan
Email: master@ams.edu.sg

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