Teo Eng Kiong 

Master (2020-2022)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



21 December 2020

Dear Fellow Academicians

2020 has certainly been a different and challenging year for all of us.  The global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way we live, socialise and work.  While we chose to be cautious, it is equally important to keep an open mind and embrace changes positively, adapting to technological innovations and exploring new ways to support and serve our members as we continue to battle against COVID-19.


As the year draws to a close, I join the Academy Council to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy new year!



A Heartfelt Thank You to Immediate Past Master, Dr S R E Sayampanathan


I am honoured to be given the opportunity to serve as the Master of the Academy and to build upon the many important work which Immediate Past Master, Dr S R E Sayampanathan, and the past Council have accomplished.


Throughout his term as Master (2016 – 2020), Dr Sayampanathan has shown clear vision and strong commitment.  He led the Academy to forge strong and close relationship with the Ministry of Health and also worked diligently to establish and strengthen ties between the legal and medical fraternities.  This confidence and trust between the Academy and our key stakeholders have furthered the development of several collaborative initiatives and programmes which strategically supports our profession in maintaining professional standards and upholding self-regulation.  He has also worked tirelessly to encourage and inspire many members to participate actively and be more involved in representing the profession. 


I am proud to have served with Dr Sayampanathan, and on behalf of our members I would like to extend a heartfelt appreciation to him for his years of exemplary service and contribution.



Advocating for our Profession and Patients


In September, the Academy’s Committee on Sustainable Healthcare Financing, comprises representatives from Singapore Medical Association and College of Family Physicians, completed and submitted a report to our Health Minister.  The report essentially outlined the issues with our healthcare insurance and financing which affects patients access to healthcare providers as well as their potential health outcomes.  We have requested the Ministry’s guidance on the way forward as health insurance plays an extremely important role in healthcare financing in Singapore. It is paramount that a sustainable system is in place for our future generations.


I am pleased to update that the Ministry along with the various stakeholders have agreed to come to the table and work together to reach a fair and equitable solution. As healthcare financing is a complex ecosystem and resolution may take time, I would like to assure members that the Academy Council is committed to ensure we achieve continued accessibility and affordability of healthcare services for the benefit of all Singaporeans.


Recently, the Academy also acted decisively to safeguard the interest of members and to protect the patients and public.  As you are aware, an online commercial platform has listed details of our members, including their profile and inter alia details of their qualifications, practice and disciplinary record with the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), without member’s consent.  The Academy issued a letter to the company demanding the immediate removal of our members’ detail from their website unless they have obtained our member’s expressed consent.  This is to reiterate that the Academy views such misrepresentation seriously as we must uphold the integrity and values of our profession.



Maintaining Standards and Professionalism


The Academy will continue to focus on its core mission of maintaining high standards of competency and ethical integrity through continuing professional development as we move on in the next decade.


The Academy will organise and conduct specialty-specific Ethics Course for specialists with the aim of helping physicians understand the role of ethics in medicine, the emerging ethical dilemmas, and how physicians make ethical decision.  The SMC Continuing Medical Education Co-ordinating Committee (CMECC) targets for the Ethics Course to be mandatory effective 1 January 2022.


The Academy will also be conducting exit examination for MOH-approved Hospital Clinician (HC) Diploma programme.  MOH has endorsed the implementation of the HC scheme as part of the overall care transformation strategy. It aims to ensure that Singapore’s healthcare system remains sustainable and is equipped with an efficient care delivery system to maintain a consistently high standard of care to address the healthcare needs of the Singapore population. The HC scheme comprises a one-year Assessment Year and is followed by a two-year (or more) HC Diploma training. The exit examination conducted by the Academy is to certify that the trainees meet the necessary core competencies to function as Senior Hospital Clinician at the end of the two-year Hospital Clinician training programme.


To guide and support our busy healthcare professionals in keeping abreast of current evidence and best practices, the Academy has been in discussion with several stakeholders to explore potential collaboration on the development of evidence-based medicine guidelines. The development of high-quality clinical practice guidelines is a complex task. We are keen to engage with experts who can assist us with systematic review, including methodology and cost-effectiveness, with guidance from a group of senior specialist clinicians from the Academy. It is important for these guidelines to be under the domains of the professional bodies and published in peer reviewed journals, such as the Annals of the Academy.


Additionally, the Academy is looking into a new initiative – mentoring and remediation – as a service to fill in the current gaps in the industry and to support strengthening the healthcare system. Remediation is widely used across healthcare systems globally, and has clear implications for both patient safety and doctor retention. With this approach, we hope to see positive outcomes for both parties, by improving patient care and supporting professionals to get back on track.


We still have a lot of work to do. As Fellows, we must step up and come forward to serve on the many platforms available through the Academy, Colleges and Chapters by contributing our professional expertise, opinions and experiences which would help shape and influence the national healthcare agenda.


Having granted the power and privilege of professional self-regulation, it is each of our responsibility and obligation to set and maintain high standards of professionalism and ethics to enhance self-governance and safeguard self-regulation.



How Do We Do Better For You?


Lastly, the Academy will be conducting a membership survey entitled ‘How do we do better for you?’ to identify ways to better serve your needs, understand the issues which you are most concerned about and how we can bring additional value to you.  Please keep a look out for this survey and give us your suggestions.


We are committed to supporting and serving you throughout your professional career and staying relevant to our specialists’ fraternity.


We want to hear from you. Help us to serve you better. 


Best Wishes

Professor Teo Eng Kiong
Academy of Medicine, Singapore

Email: master@ams.edu.sg








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