Several MOUs were signed in Singapore on 29 August 2019, with the intention to help 15,000 healthcare workers upskill, secure better work prospects, and be mentally resilient to handle the rigours of a transformed healthcare environment.

This will be done through the formation of two company training committees (CTCs), led by the Labour Movement's Healthcare Academy together with the management of National University Health System (NUHS) and NTUC Health respectively.

The focus areas include:

  • Addressing skills gaps and training needs;
  • Developing mechanisms to help existing and new workers adopt, adapt and embrace change through appropriate intervention programmes;
  • Implementing and periodically reviewing the efficacy of training programmes;
  • Leveraging new adult learning concepts such as micro-learning platforms like U Leap (Learning Enabled through Active Participation) by NTUC’s e2i.

First CTC with public healthcare cluster

In April this year, representatives from Healthcare Services Employees Union (HSEU) together with the Ministry of Health, management representatives and government agencies formed a Jobs, Skills and Training Advisory Panel to drive workplace transformation from a strategic level.

The CTC formed yesterday aims to cascade such strategic plans to the workplace, benefitting up to 14,000 workers in NUHS. To do this, a cluster-level workgroup will be formed to align transformation efforts across and within the various institutions under NUHS.

For a start, the workgroup will identify current and future manpower challenges in the healthcare industry; and map out the requirements needed to help healthcare workers remain agile and adaptable. It will meet at least once every quarter.

Professor John Eu-Li Wong, Chief Executive of NUHS, spoke on both CTCs: "The first is part of our efforts to enable our staff to work well into their 70s if they choose to do so, equipping them with the skills needed in a digital technological world. The second is part of our efforts at total workplace safety and health."

First CTC in intermediate long term care sector

For the second MOU, the Healthcare Academy will partner NTUC Health to equip workers in the care sector to better prepare for the requirements of a rapidly ageing population, which is expected to benefit 1,000 workers.

Chan Su Yee, Chief Executive Officer of NTUC Health, said: "It is important for us to equip them (staff) to succeed in a job that can be challenging, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.

"This is why we are glad to partner Healthcare Academy to develop our staff and prepare them to adapt well in an environment that will see greater use of technology and transformed business processes."

Mental wellness for more healthcare workers

In September 2018, HSEU partnered the Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors Singapore (APACS), an NTUC U Associate, on a programme to improve the mental wellbeing of healthcare workers while enabling them to focus on the complex and high-touch aspects of their work2.

To promote mental wellness and resilience, the Healthcare Academy, NUHS and Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors Singapore (APACS) has inked an MOU to provide support services for NUHS employees, such as retainer clinics, a dedicated hotline, lunchtime talks, training courses, and restorative circles for those who are impacted by a crisis or major events.

Doreen Heng, Nurse Assistant Director of Nursing (Clinical) at Alexandra Hospital, said: "The nurses’ job can be physically and emotionally demanding. We need to practise patience and empathy even when faced with challenging patients and situations."

The MOUs were witnessed by NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng (pictured above) at National University Health System’s (NUHS) National Day Observance Ceremony today, co-organised by the Healthcare Services Employees Union (HSEU).

Photo / NTUC SG Ng Chee Meng addressing management and staff of National University Health System (NUHS) and Labour Movement representatives