SINGAPORE - Two public hospitals are working together to optimise care for patients with severe traumatic injuries.
Under the collaboration between Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the upcoming Sengkang General Hospital, TTSH trauma surgeons will shuttle between both hospitals as necessary.
They are also working out protocols on where patients in the central and north-east regions should be sent in the event of a critical emergency.
For example, someone with severe injuries involving multiple organs, and who would subsequently require help from a trauma psychiatrist, could be sent to the more established department at TTSH.
The collaboration was announced at the two-day Singapore Trauma and Acute Care Conference, which started on Friday (April 20) at Raffles City Convention Centre.
Said Dr Teo Li-Tserng, chief of trauma and acute care surgery at TTSH: "Regional trauma systems, where resources are optimised by managing severely injured trauma patients in higher-resourced hospitals, have been shown to reduce death and disability due to injury in the populations under their care."
His team is also training their counterparts from Sengkang General Hospital; they are currently stationed at Alexandra Hospital and do not operate a full-fledged emergency department.
They will be moving into their new premises later this year.
"The shared expertise and resources achieved from the collaboration will enhance the efficiency of care delivery as Sengkang continues to develop its trauma services in preparation for the hospital's opening," said Dr Kam Juinn Huar, a consultant from the hospital's surgery department.
Traumatic injuries are the fifth-highest cause of death in Singapore, with the majority of serious cases involving people aged 65 and above.
Many incidents involve vehicle accidents and falls, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the conference, adding that there are opportunities to prevent these from occurring.
Mr Gan also spoke on the important role that tightly coordinated teams of medical professionals play in delivering quality care for trauma patients.
Success does not lie in the hands of only surgeons or emergency physicians, but also nurses, rehabilitation therapists and other allied health professionals, case managers and trauma coordinators who work together tirelessly and often behind the scenes, he said.