Address human aspects that may cause lapses

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is an established and well-trusted hospital, growing from strength to strength over the decades in providing a high standard of healthcare.

The hospital can have a good set of best practices and procedures, but lapses can still occur, and these can be contributed by human factors ("Hepatitis C probe points to lapses at SGH"; Dec 9).

Over the decades, SGH has seen tremendous growth in patient visits and admissions, putting a lot of stress on the already stretched healthcare professionals, in particular, nurses.

Lapses are commonly caused by human factors, such as overwork, insufficient sleep or rest leading to fatigue, family problems, additional parental responsibilities for their children and responsibilities for elderly parents, and emotional and financial problems.

Miscommunication due to language problems can also occur among our multinational healthcare professionals.

Finding out about lapses is not enough without identifying what caused the lapses, in order to be able to resolve the underlying problems.

There are a few infectious diseases experts on the new task force set up to strengthen infection control in hospitals ("New task force to boost infection control in hospitals"; Dec 9).

But what appears to be missing is a human resources team to address manpower issues and human factors that may result in lapses.

Aaron Ang Chin Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Address human aspects that may cause lapses'. Print Edition | Subscribe