SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will review its rules and policies to allow nurses to expand their roles and take on more complex duties, Senior Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said on Friday (Sep 29).
Speaking at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Education Conference, a bi-annual event for healthcare educators, Mr Chee said that it was important to allow all groups of professionals to "practise at the top of their licence".
"By allowing all groups of professionals to practise at the top of their licence, we will maximise the potential and contributions of our healthcare workforce," said Mr Chee, who is also Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information.
As part of this, the ministry will review its rules to allow experienced enrolled nurses to take on more complex duties such as administering oral medications, injections and wound care, which are tasks currently performed by registered nurses.
It is also planning to allow advanced practice nurses and pharmacists to prescribe medication together with doctors.
Mr Chee added the ministry will amend its existing policies to allow advanced practice nurses and registered therapists to refer patients for subsidised community rehabilitation at senior care centres and day rehabilitation centres.
Currently, patients need to be assessed by a doctor at a specialist outpatient clinic before they are referred to receive rehabilitative care in the community.
The new policy will benefit specialist outpatient clinics as they will be able to focus on other patients with more pressing healthcare needs, said Mr Chee. He said that the ministry would also review the policy to see if it can be expanded to include other nurses.
He added that these ideas were proposed by healthcare workers during focus group discussions.
The event also saw the launch of three new inter-professional education training (IPE) programmes at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre: The Stroke IPE programme, IPE Common Care Pathway for Childhood Asthma and Learning for Inter-Professional Patient-Centric Approach to Diabetes Management.
The programmes are aimed at letting healthcare professionals from different occupations train and collaborate with others from different specialisations to provide better health outcomes for patients.
The Stroke IPE programme started in August this year and has brought together about 100 multi-discplinary stroke care professionals from Singapore General Hospital, National Neuroscience Institute and Changi General Hospital to date.
The other two programmes will start in early 2018, according to SingHealth.