New SAF heart-screening centre launched to better test military personnel

Housed within the recently-opened National Heart Centre Singapore l, the SAF heart screening centre will share state-of-art heart screening technology and have access to the Republic's leading cardiologists. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Housed within the recently-opened National Heart Centre Singapore l, the SAF heart screening centre will share state-of-art heart screening technology and have access to the Republic's leading cardiologists. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - A new heart-screening centre has been set up to shorten the time to screen national service enlistees and military personnel for signs of heart abnormalities.

At the Singapore Armed Forces Cardiac Fitness Centre, pre-enlistees and servicemen can book an appointment for their tests and get the results which determine if they are healthy enough for combat training within three months, half the time it used to take.

Previously, these men had to shuttle between the SAF's Medical Classification Centre in Depot Road and Military Medicine Institute and six public hospitals to go through additional tests like the echocardiogram, which produces three-dimensional images of the heart.

The new SAF heart-screening centre, which is near the Singapore General Hospital in Outram Road, was officially launched by Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing on Friday.

Housed within the recently-opened National Heart Centre Singapore l, the SAF heart screening centre will share state-of-art heart screening technology and have access to the Republic's leading cardiologists.

The SAF's Chief of Medical Corps Kang Wee Lee, said a one-stop heart screening centre not only improves operational efficiency, but ensures consistent quality in how doctors screen and analyse data.

The move also allows the SAF to collect more data that can help lower the risk of cardiac cases among its personnel.

Mr Chan said the SAF's medical system cannot be run and developed separately from the national healthcare system as the Republic's soldiers are also civilians.

By integrating both healthcare systems, they can draw upon each other's expertise and make better use of the finite resources. Such a move will also "do justice" to the Defence and health ministries' budgets, stretching the dollar further.