Dr Khor: Hospitals, TCM units can work together

Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor delivering the opening address at the International Symposium on Theory and Evidence in Acupuncture at NTU.

Researchers in restructured hospitals could collaborate with larger Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) establishments to provide valuable research material.

And, due to the size of patient pools in such establishments, this could eventually lead to better patient outcomes, said Minister of State for Health Amy Khor yesterday.

Dr Khor was speaking at the opening of the two-day International Symposium on Theory and Evidence in Acupuncture, held at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

She told the 160 invited guests: "While anecdotal evidence exists suggesting the efficacy of acupuncture treatments for a variety of illnesses, there have not been many rigorously conducted clinical trials to validate these observations and their mechanisms of action."

Three hospitals in Singapore currently have acupuncture units: Tan Tok Seng Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and National University Hospital.

Dr Khor said that health-care administrators would like to see more reliable evidence for the efficacy claims of acupuncture treatments using scientific protocols of evidence-based medicine. This can be carried out through randomised controlled trials.

"Based on these research results, administrators can make more informed decisions and provide clinically proven, cost-effective TCM treatment to serve the health-care needs of the public more efficiently," she said.

Professor Hong Hai, a senior fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies and adjunct professor at the College of Business at NTU, told my paper that TCM can contribute to promoting health and healing, but acknowledged its limitations.

"If there are things that seem to be beyond the ability of Chinese medical physicians to handle, then we should go to other experts where Western medicine works," he said.


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