An Evolving GP Engagement Journey

17/6/2016



General Practitioners (GPs) form an integral part of the healthcare landscape. MOH recognises the importance of developing closer working relationships with the GPs to grow the Primary Care sector, and to make medical services more accessible and affordable for patients. 
 
Humble beginnings 
In 2011, Agency for Integrated Care’s (AIC) Primary Care Engagement (PCE) team was formed to help develop this tripartite relationship. The team’s key effort has been their engagement of GPs for the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), in which they adopted a “hand-holding” engagement approach. Interested GPs would be assisted from the onset, from their indication of interest through to the signing up and boarding process. Thereafter, the GPs are supported by their assigned account servicing manager and the dedicated CHAS hotline. These were set up to provide GPs with a single point of contact for any CHAS-related queries. 

Thanks to efforts over time, GPs now look upon the team and AIC as the one-stop point of contact for all Primary Care matters, and not just for CHAS. 

The team’s personal concierge approach has also facilitated collaboration with our GP partners in other areas such as the Pandemic Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) programme, Community Health Centre (CHC) initiative and the Primary Care Network (PCN).    
 
Increasing networks and platforms  
Over the years, AIC has established various engagement platforms to facilitate communication between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the GP community, and to seek the GPs’ invaluable insights in their areas of expertise. These platforms include the GP Advisory Committees, Focus Group Discussions and the GP Ambassadors Scheme. 

In line with being the one-stop service point for GPs, the Primary Care Pages (PCP) was set up in 2011 as their one-stop resource hub. The portal provides GPs with up-to-date information on healthcare schemes and the development of Primary Care initiatives. The PCE team liaised with Continuing Medical Education (CME) coordinators from various restructured hospitals to use the PCP to consolidate CME talks, training and symposiums. Through the portal, GPs can apply online directly for various events.  A quarterly PCP e-newsletter is also disseminated to keep the GPs abreast of the latest happenings. 

AIC has also been contributing regular articles to Singapore Medical Association (SMA) and College of Family Physicians Singapore (CFPS) publications to reach out to the GPs.    

These networks and resources are the mainstays of our support to GPs in providing holistic care to Singaporeans. 
 
Appreciating our partners 
The annual CHAS GP Appreciation and CME event was started in 2013 to thank the participating GPs. Besides being an opportunity to network over lunch, GPs were also updated about various Primary Care initiatives. In addition, ‘Most Active CHAS Partners’ certificates were given to the 50 GPs who served the most number of beneficiaries to recognise their contributions. As part of the nation’s golden jubilee celebrations in 2015, MOH and AIC hosted a special appreciation dinner for the Pioneer GPs who played a critical role in the development of Singapore’s healthcare.  

We have also sought to actively profile our GPs, be it in their managing of their patients’ chronic conditions in the community or caring for them as their preferred family doctor. Stories of our GPs have been carried in mainstream media, as part of the Committee of Supply Debate (COS) speeches, and the PCN. AIC will continue to extend its appreciation and support of our GP partners through future media efforts.

We know much work is still needed. We acknowledge the significant contributions made by our Pioneers, but it is crucial that we leap towards the next stage of Primary Care. Let’s work together to improve and transform the sector to achieve the most ideal care outcomes for our patients.

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