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SMRT pilots health screening programme for older taxi drivers

The programme provides drivers who are aged 40 and above with free health screenings for chronic conditions.

SINGAPORE: SMRT is piloting a year-long health screening and coaching programme for older taxi drivers. It aims to promote and encourage positive health practices at work and at rest, the transport operator said on Monday (Sep 1).

Partnering with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and Alexandra Health System, SMRT will provide its drivers who are aged 40 and above with free health screenings for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus and obesity. 

After this screening, drivers will undergo a five-month health counselling and coaching programme tailored to their medical condition, followed by a second screening to evaluate improvements to their health. These services will be carried out at SMRT Taxis' Customer Service Centre for accessibility and convenience.

If successful, HPB said it may extend such programmes to other sectors and industries where employees work in shifts and find it difficult to practise a healthy lifestyle.

Speaking on the sidelines of a visit to SMRT Taxis' Customer Service Centre, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor said HPB and SMRT may collaborate to extend the programme to other workers within the transport sector. "We are working with other stakeholders, looking at extending such health-promoting programmes to sectors where there are mature workers, or workers in unstructured work places, for instance the retail industry, as well as the cleaning and security industries," she said.  

SMRT has been running the programme since June this year, and about 700 taxi drivers have benefited. ComfortDelGro also partnered with HPB in running a similar programme since June, but with a different health partner.

Mr Vincent Yap, an SMRT taxi driver and a participant of the health programme, said he has found it helpful so far: "This programme is good because they will teach you how to maintain your diet and encourage you to exercise more. I am trying to lower my blood pressure."  

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