President Halimah Yacob thanks healthcare workers for their hard work

Madam Halimah Yacob meets healthcare workers at NUH.ST VIDEO: DESMOND FOO
President Halimah Yacob watching 100-year old Mdm Liew Tim undergoing a therapy session at the National University Hospital on Sept 19, 2017.
President Halimah Yacob watching 100-year old Mdm Liew Tim undergoing a therapy session at the National University Hospital on Sept 19, 2017.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
President Halimah Yacob watching 100-year old Mdm Liew Tim undergoing a therapy session at the National University Hospital on Sept 19, 2017.
President Halimah Yacob watching 100-year old Mdm Liew Tim undergoing a therapy session at the National University Hospital on Sept 19, 2017.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - Career advancement was far from the mind of of Madam Lee Sock Hwa, a senior patient care associate at the National University Hospital (NUH), when she turned 70 this year.

She did not think she would be moving up the career ladder anymore at that age.

But her employer had a different idea and promoted her.

"I said, huh, at my age, you still promote me? I was so happy," she told reporters on Tuesday (Sept 19)

Madam Lee, who directs patients and visitors at NUH's reception counters, was one of the dozens of healthcare workers whom President Halimah Yacob met on Tuesday.

The President was on a visit to NUH to see how hospitals in Singapore are coping with the demands on an ageing population.

Citing Madam Lee, she told reporters: "I must really say kudos to NUH for allowing people to work without looking at their age, so long as they contribute."

"She just got promoted. It's really wonderful that they're taking into consideration the contribution of seniors and not just their age."

The President also visited a geriatric and paediatric ward in the hospital.

She praised the geriatric ward for its holistic approach, noting how it takes care of patients' social as well as physical needs.

For example, it encourages patients' families to be involved in their healthcare, and conducts activities for patients to keep their minds sharp.

At NUH, President Halimah also discussed issues, including mid-career switches, the reemployment of older workers and Singapore's need for more nurses, at a dialogue with 26 staff members.

The staff were from the nursing, allied health, administration and support services departments.

She told them all: "Thank you for all the hard work."

She later told reporters that she hoped to show support for healthcare workers through her visit.

"It's not an easy field because when people are ill, people tend to impose a lot more demands, and they are taking care of not just patients but their family as well," said Madam Halimah, adding that they have "done very, very well".

Nurse manager Sania Mohd Jonid, 48, said she felt honoured that the President visited to thank them for their contributions.

She said not many knew exactly what nurses do.

"We feel so happy that people out there appreciate us, because it's not easy being a nurse," said Ms Sania, who joined nursing 12 years ago after working in customer service in a bank.