Two public hospitals are working together to optimise care for patients with severe traumatic injuries.
The collaboration between Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the upcoming Sengkang General Hospital will involve TTSH trauma surgeons shuttling between both hospitals when needed. Some Sengkang doctors have also been doing stints at TTSH's emergency department.
The aim is to help doctors at Sengkang General Hospital, which opens later this year, get up to speed on the demands of acute emergency treatment.
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 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 yesterday at Raffles City Convention Centre.
Dr Teo Li Tserng, chief of trauma and acute care surgery at TTSH, said: "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 at Sengkang General Hospital. They are stationed at Alexandra Hospital, which does not have a full-fledged emergency department. They move into their new premises in Sengkang 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 Sengkang General Hospital's surgery department.
Traumatic injuries are the fifth-highest cause of death here, with most of the serious cases involving people over age 65. 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.