Minister Khaw leaves hospital and praises the progress of Singapore’s medical services

Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday (8 Mar) that he was leaving the hospital, a week after undergoing surgery on his fractured arm. He broke his arm when he “jumped out of bed” at home.

In a Facebook post, he wrote, “I am going home today!”

He also took the opportunity to praise Singapore’s medical services, which has seen tremendous progress over the decades, according to him. He said, “After 5 hospitalizations, I have experienced the progress in our medical services over the decades.”

“In the beginning, we sent our doctors to global centres to be trained. Then we began to witness a reverse flow as foreign doctors came here to be trained,” he added.

“Then, we started to invest in medical R&D and translational medicine, as we sought to contribute to new techniques, devices and drugs.”

He said the present hospitalization episode has enabled him to test out an invention by the National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), which is a compact heart monitor invented by one of the NHCS’ doctors called “Spyder”.

“It does a marvelous job of sending my ECG continuously real time, to NHCS and without any cumbersome cables. It is non-invasive, easy to use, detachable: it’s really a v cool product!” he said, praising the NHCS’ invention.

Many years involving in health services

The Penang-born minister began his career in the public service in the Health Ministry in 1978.

In the first 7 years, he worked in MOH drafting health care policies, including the Medisave Scheme, forcing elderly to set aside tens of thousands of their CPF monies in their CPF account, waiting for their eventuality to be hospitalized. In the next 7 years, he was involved in running some of the public hospitals: NUH, KK, SGH.

In 1992, then PM Goh appointed him as Principal Private Secretary, before promoting him to become Permanent Secretary of MTI in 1995. In 2001, he entered politics under the PAP banner and two years later in 2003, he was appointed the Health Minister, going back to oversee the health services again.

He was the Health Minister for the next 8 years until right after 2011 GE when then National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan unceremoniously stepped down as Cabinet Minister to become just a backbencher MP. Mr Khaw then volunteered to take over the National Development Ministry.

Hence, in all, Minister Khaw was involved in Singapore’s health services for more than 20 years, at least more than half of his public service career. Minister Khaw must have been quite pleased with the “progress in our medical services over the decades”, in order for him to praise the health services publicly through Facebook.