National Day Awards 2019

A passion for improving healthcare workers' lives: K. Thanaletchimi

Ms K. Thanaletchimi, a former Nominated MP, feels gratified to keep workers employable through persuasive power.
Ms K. Thanaletchimi, a former Nominated MP, feels gratified to keep workers employable through persuasive power.

Ms K. Thanaletchimi
President, Healthcare Services Employees' Union
Public Service Medal

Healthcare and the labour movement run in Ms K. Thanaletchimi's blood. The veteran unionist was elected president of the National University Hospital Employees' Union (NUHEU) at the age of 30 in 1996, and drove the merger of NUHEU and the Healthcare Corporation of Singapore Staff Union.

This led to the successful formation in 2006 of the Healthcare Services Employees' Union (HSEU), which she now heads as president.

The 53-year-old former Nominated MP also contributed to industry transformation by setting up the Healthcare Academy in partnership with NTUC LearningHub and e2i, which trains public healthcare workers to embrace change amid disruption and adopt new technology.

"We are preparing to train more than 1,000 workers by the end of this year," she said.

She has also brought psychotherapy clinics to the workplace, for healthcare workers to easily access mental health support. "This is a form of self-care for workers which HSEU has strongly advocated for.

"I have devoted most of my life to helping workers, and am greatly gratified to keep them employable through persuasive power."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'A passion for improving healthcare workers' lives'. Print Edition | Subscribe