S R E Sayampanathan

Master (2016-2018)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



11 July 2016

Dear Fellow Academicians


A. Opening Reflections


It has been a very busy 4 weeks, since I started my term as Master of AMS.  In my inaugural message, I informed you of the new organisational structure of AMS.  Here are some of the latest developments to the Organization Chart:


B. Office of Professional Affairs (OPA)

Handling Professional Affairs is both an exceptionally meaningful and important aspect of AMS activities.  On a frequent basis, opinions on professional and clinical practice are being requested by various authorities such as Ministry of Health, Health Sciences Authority, Singapore Police, the Courts and the Coroner.  Each of these projects takes up several man-hours of research, meetings and report writing (all this goes on quietly and in unheralded fanfare).  For years, this has been growing steadily, and has been handled by an increasing number of Committees within AMS.

With the creation of the OPA, all these Committees have been brought under one Office for coordination and streamlining of activities.  The position of Director, whose role will be to ensure direction and purpose in all these activities, has been established under the Office.  The Director will also help to drive the various Committees accordingly, so that healthcare in Singapore will benefit, particularly from the professional, quality and safety perspectives.  After a good search, AMS Council has appointed Dr Benjamin Ng Boon Lui (College of Public Health & Occupational Physicians) to be Director of OPA for a 5-year term.  Within the last two weeks, we have held meetings to shape the OPA, and I will take this opportunity to share our plans.  There are three Committees.


1. Guidelines, Advisories & Consensus Committee (GACC) 


This Committee will be guided by Dr Alan Ng (College of Physicians, Singapore) and Dr Ong Hock Soo (College of Surgeons, Singapore).

Since 2007, the Ministry of Health has been seeking AMS comments and endorsements on Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG), e.g. Dementia, Headache, Osteoporosis.  In addition, there have been requests for professional opinions on Regulation of Medical Devices, Colonic Hydrotherapy and many other procedures.  We have also received requests from organisations such as Health Sciences Authority, Health Promotion Board, Ministry of Home Affairs and Singapore Medical Council to name a few.


The table below shows a tally of the opinions/work done by AMS.  For each request, we gather relevant specialists to provide the necessary inputs and prepare a paper with the inputs for submission to the requesting agency.  Click here to view the papers which were developed for the different topics for which the opinions/work were requested for (you will get an idea of the variety of subjects managed by Fellows of AMS).


Many of these works may have gone on unseen by the vast majority of Fellows, but they are extremely important works that needed to be done by a responsible body.  Hence, AMS remains to be a very relevant professional organisation on the healthcare scene in Singapore.  The GACC division of OPA will help to ensure that these works will continue to be done diligently and conscientiously.


2. Medical Experts Committee (MEC)


This Committee is chaired by Dr T Thirumoorthy (College of Physicians, Singapore).  It will have a training and service component.

The training section, Medical Experts Training Committee (METC), will conduct courses to train Medical Experts.  To-date, two successful courses have been held in 2014 and 2016.   The courses were partly conducted at the State Courts, made possible through collaboration with the State Courts, Law Society of Singapore, Singapore Law Academy and Singapore Medical Association.  We plan to organize and conduct these courses annually in the future.


The Specialists who have been trained will form the Faculty of Medical Experts which constitutes the service component of MEC.  They will be engaged to handle requests by the Coroner, the Courts and other external stakeholders (some potentially may be international).  The importance of these Committees is reflected in the number of requests we have handled over the past years, as shown in the table below.

3. Professionalism and Ethics Committee (PEC)


This Committee is also chaired by Dr Thirumoorthy.  It will develop and organize courses such as the Ethics Course for Staff Registrar Scheme (SRS) Diploma Programmes.  It will also coordinate initiatives such as the Orgisational Ethics Workgroup which is formed in response to National Ethics Capability Committee's request for the Academy to develop a competency training framework on organisational ethics for doctors and other healthcare professionals.  It will also develop professionalism and ethics courses for our specialists, in our endeavour to continually improve these attributes.


C. Other Activities 


I also would like to highlight some of the more important activities going on behind the scenes over the weekend and weeks ahead.

(1) The 2nd Joint Collegiate Scientific Meeting (JCSM) for Dental Surgeons was held over the weekend on 9-10 July 2016 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.   Organised by the College of Dental Surgeons, the meeting showcased a high level scientific exchange, bringing together Fellows from Australasia, Hong Kong and Singapore sharing the latest innovations and technological advances in the field.

(2) Dr Dujeepa D Samarasekera (Chapter of Clinician Educators, AMS) informed me that the residential units of the Master of Health Professions Education, Singapore (MHPE-S) started this morning at the Academy of Medicine, Singapore.  The grueling 3-week residential units, led by Programme Coordinators Dr Matthew Gwee (Unit 1) and Dr Goh Poh Sun (Unit 7), will run from 11 to 29 July.  I wish all with the programme an enjoyable and enriching experience!



(3) The Chapter of Cardiologists is actively reviewing the "Guidelines on Provision of Electrocardiography Stress Testing".  It has had several meetings recently, and it will be assisting the Ministry of Health to develop appropriate guidelines.  We thank all the Fellows in the Chapter for their valuable and important contributions.


(3) The College of Physicians, Singapore will be organising its 8th Medicine Review Course (MRC) on 23 July 2016 at the Academia, SingHealth.  This has always been a highly popular course and we wish them continued success.


(4) The AMS Council will be holding its Strategic Planning Retreat also on 23 July 2016 at the Academia, SingHealth (yes, same day and place as MRC).  We have many plans and initiatives in mind, but we wish to get feedback from key Fellows, e.g. ideas on implementation and prioritizing of initiatives.  Often, new and valuable ideas surface during such brain-storming.



D. Closing Comments


As can be seen above, AMS engages in numerous important projects, activities and programmes.  This is possible, because of the efforts and time given voluntarily by our 3,266 membership.   I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the contributors. 

Presently, we reach out to about 58% of Specialists registered with the Specialist Accreditation Board (SAB).  I would like to see this membership grow, because AMS is very meaningful to the Healthcare Community and we would like every specialists to be a part of AMS efforts.

To use Abraham Lincoln's quotation on Government, and adapt it to AMS : "For the Specialists, By the Specialists and Of the Specialists" – this can only be done efficiently, effectively and efficaciously through AMS.   So, I urge more people to step up and join AMS in our efforts.






Best Wishes

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


   B. Professional Opinions and FeedbackB. Professional Opinions and FeedbackB. Professional Opinions and FeedbackB. Professional Opinions and FeedbackB. Professional Opinions and FeedbackB. Professional Opinions and Feedback

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