• Target Zero Harm Award was presented to 10 nurses and two nurse-led teams from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, National Cancer Centre Singapore, National Heart Centre Singapore and Singapore General Hospital, who have demonstrated exemplary efforts to prevent errors and unsafe practices  

Singapore, 1 August 2016 – In conjunction with its annual Nurses’ Day celebrations, SingHealth today launched a new award called Target Zero Harm to recognise healthcare staff who have raised patient safety standards and eliminated preventable errors in the healthcare setting.  

Ten nurses and two nurse-led teams from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), National Cancer Centre Singapore, National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) and Singapore General Hospital received the awards at the celebrations where Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, officiated as Guest of Honour.

Individual winners received cash prizes of S$1,000 each, while each winning team received S$2,500 cash, to be used on training programmes related to patient safety and infection control.

Prof Ivy Ng, Group Chief Executive Officer, SingHealth, said: “The SingHealth Family Target Zero Harm Award is a deliberate effort to reinforce a strong culture of safety as we work towards eliminating preventable errors by encouraging staff to be vigilant in highlighting unsafe practices and proactive in introducing new ways to improve patient safety standards. It is part of SingHealth’s commitment to make healthcare safe for our patients and staff.”

Nurses – the Best Advocates for Patient Safety

As the largest public healthcare group in Singapore, SingHealth institutions employ over 8,000 nurses who play a vital role in ensuring patients receive safe and timely care.

Dr Tracy Carol Ayre, Group Chief Nurse, SingHealth, said: “Patient safety is the healthcare team’s shared responsibility, but nurses are in a unique position because they spend the most time with patients and can act as the eyes and ears to ensure safety protocols are in check and highlight any unsafe practices. Patients place their trust in us and it is the duty of all healthcare staff to ensure that patient safety is never compromised.”

Notably, the two nurse-led winning teams of Target Zero Harm Award have shown how nurses are in the best position to initiate and implement projects that improve patient safety.

At KKH, the winning team significantly reduced the risk of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) in women undergoing C-section. The multidisciplinary team developed a new care protocol which involves assessing each patient’s risk of developing thromboembolism, then tailoring a customised treatment and action plan to prevent its occurrence. Following this care protocol, zero cases of VTE have occurred in this patient group over the last 16 months. This is down from an average of up to two cases a year prior to its introduction in January 2015.

The multidisciplinary team from NHCS introduced a series of interventions to reduce the incidence of hypoglycemic events in diabetic patients who undergo a coronary artery bypass graft procedure from 20 to 10 per cent. The interventions include serving night feeds to maintain patients’ blood sugars at an optimal level and enhancing patient communication and education before and after surgery, to ensure compliance.

Going the Distance for Patient Safety

In support of the Target Zero Harm Award, a team of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and healthcare administrators known as the SingHealth Freewheelers cycled 195km across Singapore from 31 July to 1 August to raise funds for the Award. A total of S$20,800 was raised by the SingHealth Freewheelers, boosting an existing pool of S$286,200 which was raised earlier through donations from SingHealth staff.

Recognising the Best

At its Nurses’ Day celebrations, SingHealth also presented awards and scholarships to top nurses from its healthcare institutions to mark the Nurses’ Day celebrations. This year, 44 nurses received awards to recognise their outstanding work performance and contributions.

Sixteen nurses were also presented scholarships which will enable them to pursue higher education and receive specialised training to deliver better care for patients.