Forum: Healthcare staff covers whole range of people

Healthcare workers at the entrance of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, on Jan 30, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

On Feb 7, after Singapore moved the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition to orange, many hospitals set up temperature screening and health declaration checkpoints - grim reminders that healthcare work can be hazardous.

Beyond the infection, there is impact on the colleagues and families of our healthcare workers.

Most people think of doctors and the nurses as healthcare workers, but many others are essential to providing a caring and effective healthcare system. The loss of any one of these will affect the care our medical fraternity gives.

The list of healthcare workers is long - from the concierge and valets to nursing managers and nurse clinicians.

There is also a huge and dedicated team of support staff without whom we cannot function. They include the radiographers, psychologists, shuttle bus drivers, volunteers and more.

The additional measures implemented at the hospitals are meant to keep all of us safe.

During this tough and trying time, we call on all Singaporeans to work with us as a nation and rally behind our healthcare workers as it is difficult being front-line defenders of health during an epidemic.

Physical discomfort aside, it takes commitment and courage to be at the forefront of the fight against the virus.

Every healthcare worker places his life on the line so that we get to seek medical care.

As a doctor, I was very touched to see a staff member in his 60s helping a patient, who looked to be in her 70s, work on her travel declaration using a QR code.

He could have chosen to retire early and not face the risk of exposure at work.

He and many others stay on because of their sense of responsibility and willingness to help their fellow Singaporeans.

To him, and all healthcare workers, the Singapore Medical Association salutes you.

Remember, we are all facing one common enemy: the Covid-19 (coronavirus disease).

Stand united, be kind to one another. We are in this together.

Tan Yia Swam (Dr)

First Vice-President

Singapore Medical Association

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2020, with the headline Forum: Healthcare staff covers whole range of people. Subscribe