Forum: Sound leadership needed in protecting medical teams

It is heartening to read Ms Mona Tan's concerns about burnout among our healthcare personnel, especially in such trying times (Act to mitigate burnout among local healthcare professionals, Feb 13).

The Courage Fund and GrabCare are some thoughtful actions that are highly encouraging (Show support for healthcare workers in front lines: Gan, Feb 13).

These, together with many other positive gestures, will surely warm the hearts of doctors and healthcare workers who battle to save lives, and control the spread of the coronavirus.

It has been more than three weeks since the first coronavirus case was detected in Singapore.

Doctors, including general practitioners, have stood courageously on the front lines, exposed to undetermined risks as they attend to patients, many of whom suffer from influenza, coughs and colds.

As Singapore steps up surveillance and testing, we expect increasing demand on our manpower and healthcare resources.

The issues of safety, protection, fear, apprehension and exhaustion in healthcare personnel will be an increasing practical concern if these are not already present.

Do we have designated teams to check on adequacy, quality of and adherence to strict safety protocols at hospitals, especially the public hospitals?

Are hospital management teams ensuring a fair and even distribution of duties among all doctors and staff, whether senior or junior?

Is there maximal protection for doctors and staff, especially those who are in direct contact with patients, as they carry out testing measures?

In particular, our young doctors need added protection, supervision and training in view of their inexperience. Do they receive such care?

Morale boosts do not come from kind words and gifts alone. In a crisis like this, sound leadership plus a fair, cooperative and compassionate atmosphere at work are more important.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)

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