Professor Doris Young,

Head, Department of Family Medicine,

National University Health System


The Department of Family Medicine (DFM) at NUHS was established on 1 Feb 2018. Much work has been done, including appointing new department and education managers and consolidating the Undergraduate Family Medicine curriculum to extend it across four of the five years of the MBBS at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. 

 

Some new initiatives proposed in the Undergraduate curriculum extended student learnings in public health principles to practice experience in the community and introduce primary care research to students undertaking FM selective. 

 

In first year, we have introduced the Longitudinal Patient Experience, care giver experience with nurses (Inter-Professional Education) and expanding the Family Medicine presence in Phase III. This includes a foundation week to introduce the essential attitudes, skills and knowledge of Family Medicine. In addition, three weeks of a FM selective in phase IV has been offered to 30 students. 

 

NUHS Family medicine residents’ numbers for 2018/9 is now 21. This is almost double that of previous years and in July 2019, we will have 30 first year residents joining us. Thus, with National University Polyclinics (NUP) coming on board as a strong partner, we are well on our way to provide the best diverse experience for our NUHS residents, in partnership and collaboration with the Jurong Community Hospital in addition to our existing valued partners at NUH, St Luke’s, Raffles Medical Group, as well as the Frontier Family Medicine clinics. We are also identifying new career pathways (academic registrars) for young Family Physicians to take up academic careers in teaching and research in addition to their clinical training, post Masters of Medicine/Fellowship in Family Medicine. In research, the Primary Care Research Unit (PCRU) has been established and we are now actively recruiting research staff to help build research capacity in Family Medicine and Primary Care. The PCRU will provide research support to NUP and other disciplines at NUHS to conduct research that improves health practices and patient outcomes. A multidisciplinary advisory group will help to guide the Unit on innovation research themes, methodologies and funding sources. 

 

Work is also on-going with the Regional Health Service to engage primary care networks (PCN) GPs to take up the challenge of not only providing acute care to patients, and also care for the elderly with chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure and ensure they receive the best treatment. 

Six strategic goals to challenge and inspire our efforts 

 

To map the way forward, the Department held its inaugural Strategic Planning Retreat on 16 January 2019 with key leaders and practitioners from the NUH, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the National University Health System (NUHS) primary care entities. 

 

Participants were given progress updates: The three key areas that the Department would be focusing on in the short and medium terms, between now and 2020 are Education; Research and Clinical Services. The Department would initiate and drive these areas under the NUHS umbrella and expand the academic standing of Family Medicine, through education and research, and producing high quality clinical outcomes, for our community. 

 

Working closely with key strategic partners and stakeholders the Department of FM staff identified six specific goals:

 

1. Quality People: identify and nurture the best talents locally and internationally in FM education and primary care research

 

1. Quality People: identify and nurture the best talents locally and internationally in FM education and primary care research

 

1. Quality People: identify and nurture the best talents locally and internationally in FM education and primary care research

 

2. Quality Research: recruit and expand the research unit (PCRU) in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders to establish NUHS Family Medicine as a key contributor to innovative medical and health services research.

 

3. Quality teaching & Learning: provide high quality teaching and learning platforms for medical students and residents in Family Medicine.

 

4. International Positioning: align with the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s high international ranking by benchmarking Family Medicine at NUHS with other high performing Departments of FM.

 

5. Strengthening Community Care Relations: partner key stakeholders to provide comprehensive and quality patient care to the community

 

6. Quality Management: ensure continuous improvement and best practices in the Department.

 

Moving forward, the future of the Department of FM at NUHS is exciting and dynamic as we will address the three beyonds stipulated by Ministry of Health: ‘moving hospital care to the community, health care to health and quality to value’ through FM education, research and supporting our partners in the wider community.