The newly established Joy at Work Fund will support initiatives targeted at ensuring our healthcare professionals stay well during health emergencies.
Working in the isolation wards at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), Dr Kennedy Ng, a Medical Oncology Senior Resident, led a team of Medical Officers to care for patients in the isolation Intensive Care Unit as well as the High Dependency Unit. During the five weeks while he was there, he had to make a decision – whether to isolate himself from his family because of his close proximity to potential COVID-19 patients.
“My wife was extremely understanding; both of us made the decision together for me to volunteer in the isolation ward. Her support meant a lot, especially since she was pregnant and due to deliver in early April,” shared Dr Ng. “We decided to live apart to protect her and the baby, and this was probably the most difficult part of the entire five weeks.”
It has been close to five months since the first case of COVID-19 gripped our nation. Since then, our staff within SingHealth and across Singapore have been working round the clock, battling the virus. In doing so, many have had to make personal sacrifices while others, including non-clinical staff such as administrators, security officers and porters have stepped forward as volunteers beyond their areas of comfort and expertise to join the fight. As the fight against COVID-19 intensified, more had to be done to scale up the clinical and operational needs to ensure that we keep our patients, caregivers and staff safe.
Eileen Goh is a Medical Laboratory Technologist at SGH. While she does not have any direct patient contact, she has had to put in more hours in the laboratory because of the high volume of samples that are coming in for testing. Since COVID-19 started, her laboratory’s workload has tripled, and staff now work six days a week including Sundays and public holidays. One of the laboratories has even stepped in to help run tests overnight, and has been now doing so every day since 21 April 2020.
As a gesture of support to staff who have stepped up during COVID-19, and to appreciate their tremendous hard work, SingHealth will be donating $1 million to kickstart the Joy at Work Fund. SingHealth’s Core Leadership team has also pledged their personal support by donating towards this Fund.
The Joy at Work Fund aims to be the all-encompassing fund that recognises the tireless contributions and boosts the well-being and resilience of SingHealth frontline staff and those who go beyond their call of duty especially during health emergencies such as COVID-19.
Specifically, SingHealth recognises that the pandemic can take a toll on staff and their families over time. To address this, a dedicated “Resilience in Crisis” Fund has also been set up to support care initiatives focused on enabling staff to sustain the extraordinary efforts and build resilience. Since its establishment, many of SingHealth’s leaders and staff have also contributed towards the fund.
With the funds administered by the SingHealth Staff Care Centre, Prof Fong Kok Yong, Deputy Group CEO (Medical and Clinical Services), SingHealth, hopes that staff will continue to stay well physically, emotionally and mentally as they receive the support they need. “We anticipate that this pandemic will be long drawn. We are mindful of the stress that our healthcare professionals experience on the frontlines. Their physical and mental well-being are important to us, and we are working hard to ensure that they are well-supported throughout this period in every way we can,” said Prof Fong.
“As the battle wages on, we must strive to keep our spirits up as a SingHealth family. We hope that this fund can be used to encourage staff to focus on the importance of maintaining a sense of well-being at the workplace,” he added.