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      "But while it is important for us to have modern facilities and well-trained medical professionals, it is equally important for us to ensure that patients are managed effectively and appropriately."

- Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Health


At the official opening of the SGH Urology Centre on 19 December 1998, Minister for Health Mr Yeo Cheow Tong spoke on the development of Urology as a specialty, the concept of a one-stop Urology Centre. He went on to announce the launch of the National Medical Audit Programme. Appended below is an excerpt from his speech.

Raising practice standards and the importance of medical audit

The government has invested heavily in new hospitals, medical centres and state-of-the-art medical equipment in recent years. We have also invested heavily in the training of our doctors and other professional staff. The aim of all these efforts is to ensure that Singaporeans can continue to enjoy high standards of healthcare.

But while it is important for us to have modern facilities and well-trained medical professionals, it is equally important for us to ensure that patients are managed effectively and appropriately. This can be achieved by having a well defined, systematic review of the diagnosis and treatment provided, and of the outcome and quality of life of the patient. This process of medical audit and quality assurance will form the basis of continuous quality improvement in healthcare. It will enable hospitals and doctors to critically review their activities and ensure that clinical practice guidelines are indeed being complied with, and that patients are being treated appropriately.


MOH to launch a National Medical Audit Programme

With this objective in mind, my Ministry will launch a National Medical Audit Programme next year to enhance medical audit & quality assurance. Presently, hospitals and specialty centres have some Quality Assurance Programmes to monitor the quality of patient care. MOH will enhance this further by putting in place several measures. Let me elaborate.

First, the Clinical Assurance Systems in all hospitals will be standardised. The Ministry will provide guidelines on the type of medical audit activities to be carried out, the formation of relevant audit committees, and the reports to be submitted to the Ministry.

Secondly, my Ministry will work with hospitals and clinical departments to develop a comprehensive system to measure clinical performance in the various clinical specialties. An objective and continuous monitoring system for measuring clinical performance will be put in place to promote accountability by healthcare providers for the quality of care given to their patients. In this way, hospitals, clinical departments and doctors will be able to benchmark their clinical performance against national and international standards.

Patients entrust their doctors with their lives. Doctors therefore have a responsibility to critically audit their performance and make improvements where possible. This will encourage greater accountability and help improve the quality of patient care. This will not only benefit Singaporeans, but also help maintain our position as a regional centre of medical excellence.



With that, let me end by congratulating all the administrators, doctors, nurses and support staff who have worked hard to plan and develop this Urology centre. On this note, it is now my great pleasure to declare the SGH Urology Centre open.