Under an agreement signed between SCDF and SingHealth yesterday, 14 nurses from SGH will be seconded to the SCDF’s 995 operations centre.
More than 250 paramedics from
the Singapore Civil Defence Force
(SCDF) will serve hospital attachments
over the next six years, in a
move to hone the skills of emergency
This is in response to the complex
needs of Singapore’s ageing population
– with four in 10 emergency
calls in 2015 involving seniors.
Older people tend to have multiple
health problems, which means
paramedic training must get more
sophisticated, explained SCDF
chief medical officer Ng Yih Yng.
“When we manage the patients today,
as compared with 20 years ago,
(they) no longer have one problem
where you can apply a single protocol,”
he said.“We need to evolve the
training from just application of protocol
towards critical thinking and
problem-solving...How do they prioritise
and which is the problem
they need to solve immediately.”
Yesterday, the SCDF inked a
training deal with healthcare
group SingHealth at a ceremony attended
by Deputy Prime Minister
Teo Chee Hean.
Under the agreement, 14 nurses
from the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) will also be seconded to
the SCDF’s 995 operations centre.
This builds on an earlier pilot
scheme involving four nurses that
showed good results, including improving
survival rates, said Associate
Professor Marcus Ong, director
of the unit for pre-hospital emergency
care at the Health Ministry.
“Last month, one of my nurses
told me that she gave instructions
over the phone when someone was
choking on a fishball... and that person
was saved,” said Prof Ong, who
is also a senior consultant at SGH’s
emergency medicine department.
“This is a very practical example
of the difference they can make.”
Both parties are also working to
develop a programme to train senior
paramedics to teach these advanced
skills, eventually establishing them as
Between 2011 and 2015, the
number of emergency calls to the
SCDF increased by about 5 per cent
each year. Calls involving the elderly
made up a growing proportion of
cases – from 33.8 per cent in 2011 to
37.4 per cent in 2015.
As part of their hospital stints – at
either SGH or KK Women’s and Children’s HospitalKK Women’s and
Children’s Hospital – SCDF paramedics
will learn what goes on in
the wards, emergency departments
and operating rooms.
They will also be trained to deal
with simulated emergencies at
SingHealth’s new medical simulation
institute, which was launched
yesterday along with five colleges
to train healthcare staff.