Health workers lauded for excellent service

SINGAPORE- A small change in the way staff deal with surgery patients' belongings has had a big impact at Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

For safekeeping, staff at its same-day admissions centre used to itemise everything patients brought in with them, taking up an estimated 23 minutes per patient.

Since October 2012, however, the team of eight sealed patients' belongings in plastic bags tagged with a unique serial number, then delivered them to patients after surgery - all of which takes an average of 11 minutes of staff time.

Nurse clinician Irene Goh, who helped come up with the idea, and her team were among more than 2,700 health-care workers presented with the Singapore Health Quality Service Award yesterday. The annual event pays tribute to those who have shown excellent service.

"A lot of patients are very anxious before surgery; we can use the time saved to comfort them," Ms Goh said. "This way we don't intrude into their privacy but they still feel secure."

Winners came from 17 public and private-sector organisations.

The Health Ministry's director of medical services, Mr Benjamin Ong, who was guest of honour at the ceremony, commended winners for their "outstanding" achievements.

"Ensuring continued good health-care delivery is not easy... This needs teamwork involving well-trained and committed health-care professionals who engage patients and their families to deliver care with empathy," he said.

Another award winner was Mr Mazlan Senawi, who quit his job as a chef nearly nine years ago to become a therapy assistant at the Ang Mo Kio- Thye Hwa Kwan Hospital after he realised he enjoyed working with the elderly.

He now holds weekly cooking lessons for residents to help hone their motor skills and reintegrate them into regular life.

"If you want patients to be good to you, you must be good to them. Once respect is there, everything is fine." he said.

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