Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health,
Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education
Professor Bertil Andersson, NTU President,
Dr Simon Buckle, Pro-Rector International Affairs, Imperial College London,
Professor Chee Yam Cheng, CEO National Healthcare Group
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good afternoon to all of you and welcome to this historic ground breaking ceremony.This event marks a significant milestone for the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine and, in a broader context, the history of medicine and education in Singapore.
The LKC School of Medicine is born out of the partnership between Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University.This partnership is in itself catalysed by the need of the Ministry of Health to train more doctors locally to meet the increasing demand for healthcare as a result of our growing and aging population.
At the same time, there is a need to train future-ready doctor, one who is prepared to operate within a more integrated and patient-centric healthcare system.From the perspective of the Ministry of Education, this is then an opportunity to add to the excellence, diversity and choice for capable and committed young Singaporeans to pursue a medical education and to serve the community as doctors.
The vision for this School is therefore one that can transform medicine and healthcare and the School’s mission is to train doctors that we all want caring for us.To realise this vision and mission, partnerships and the spirit of open collaboration among many entities will have to undergird the School.
First and foremost is the partnership between the School and the National Healthcare Group as the primary healthcare partner, alongside the partnership with the wider hospital and healthcare system, to provide the clinical setting and education for the students of the school. It is also these partnerships that will provide the innovation pathways for Singapore to transform the healthcare system.
Next is the partnership between the School and the research community in Imperial, NTU and beyond. It is these meaningful and impactful collaborations between clinicians and scientists that will provide the science and technological underpinnings for transforming the knowledge, teaching and practice of medicine. It is also one that will contribute to reinforcing Singapore’s position as a leading biomedical research hub in the world.
Naturally, to train top doctors and develop cutting edge research, we must have the best facilities and capabilities possible.Within the next few years, I am pleased to say that these grounds of Tan Tock Seng Hospital that used to be a hostel for medical students and later nurses, will turn into a 21st century purpose-built medical campus with learner-centric facilities that will support a vibrant campus life.
We are in a prime location where there is no shortage of medical facilities that will provide the whole spectrum of clinical education opportunities.We have the 1,000-bed Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the National Neuroscience Institute, the Communicable Disease Centre, National Skin Centre, Dover Park Hospice and Ren Ci Community Hospital next to us, and further up the street, the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.Not far away from here, we have access to the various hospitals, polyclinics, medical centres and research institutes that complete the biomedical ecosystem in which the School belongs.
By 2016, exactly where we stand now will be the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine’s high-rise Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) with floors dedicated to innovative medical teaching and research.The heritage building that you see behind you will be the school’s headquarters.
Ready by next year, it will also be equipped with teaching facilities to accommodate the school’s first cohort that will be arriving in August 2013.Part of the School physical facility will be in the Yunnan Garden campus to draw on the strengths of NTU and to provide the medical students with a richer university experience of living and interacting with the entire and much more diverse NTU student body.
Located there will be the School’s Experimental Medicine Building which is linked to the School of Biological Sciences by an attractive interaction space.Together, this set of buildings will house seminar rooms, learning studios, clinical skills training facilities, state of the art laboratories and other teaching and recreational facilities.Students will spend time training in stimulating and conducive learning environments.
The video (played at the start of the ceremony) has shown you that this Mandalay campus grounds constitute an important part of Singapore’s rich medical history.This augurs well for the School as it embarks on riding the next wave of Singapore’s medical journey. Among us today are several experienced members of Singapore’s medical fraternity who can share with you stories that shaped this rich history.
The past provides us with inspiration as we usher in our new School.As we mark another milestone in the development of this School, I would like to thank some key people and institutions that have laid its firm foundations.First, our gratitude to the Ministries of Education and Health for paving the way for the School’s establishment and their continuous support.
I would also like to thank both the Ministers and the Permanent Secretaries for gracing this occasion.
Special thanks go to the staff from both the Ministries who have been working tirelessly in various committees with the School and the two partner universities to develop the School.
To members of the Pro-Tem Governing Board, I thank you for your active participation and providing the steady steer on the direction of the School. My appreciation to Professor Bertil Andersson and Sir Keith O’Nions for your leadership, support and quidance given to the School.The School is fortunate to have such great parents.
In addition, I would like to thank the following people and institutions for walking this journey with the School and giving us the support and encouragement that we greatly value (and this is not in any particular order):
To all the NTU and Imperial College staff who work at a feverish pace across borders and time zones to ensure that we are on track to welcome our first cohort of students by August next year. And there are many, many people involved here that it will take me the whole day to fully acknowledge all of them;
To NHG CEO, Professor Chee Yam Cheng, for his unwavering support as our primary healthcare partner;
To our hospital partners,– Tan Tock Seng, Khoo Teck Puat, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, as well as the hospitals in Outram, Kent Ridge and Changi for working with us to provide the clinical education and experience for the students;
To the Lee Foundation for their very generous gift of $150million which will create many significant opportunities for Singaporean students and also for the School;
To the key leadership of YLL SoM and Duke-NUS GMS for lending their expertise and sharing their experience with the School and we look forward to working closely with them to advance medical excellence in Singapore;
And finally, to the many people and institutions that I have not named but who have contributed in one way or another to bring the School to this stage of development.
Once again, on behalf of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a big thank you to all of you and we look forward to your continuing support as we continue the developmental journey to make this School a success.
Let me also thank everyone for taking time to be at this ground breaking event.
Thank you very much.