Ong Ye Kung looks beyond hospitals for healthcare excellence — the home and community matter too


“We should consider broadening our recognition awards, either through the NMEA [National Medical Excellence Awards] or other equivalent awards, to recognise that healthcare is shifting to the home and community.” 

This was Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung’s suggestion to healthcare sector leaders at the NMEA this past week (Aug 31). 

Source: Ong Ye Kung / Facebook 

His suggestion comes while Singapore becomes a “super-aged” society — and while Singapore’s communities and homes become important as focal points of our healthcare system. 

“In an ageing society, seniors are the fittest, happiest and healthiest when they continue to be connected to their families and social circles in a familiar living environment that they are endeared to,” noted Minister Ong. 

So, these communities and homes are becoming places where Singaporeans (especially older folk) can recover from and prevent illness. Here, Minister Ong’s suggestion recognises the importance of healthcare heroes who enable these everyday acts of quiet heroism. 

One thing too: Not all these heroes wear scrubs. 

Government help for everyday heroes

Our Government is providing help to an expanding lineup of healthcare heroes to carry out their responsibilities, no matter if they are community volunteers or exercise experts, neighbourhood doctors or home caregivers.  

Take Healthier SG, our ongoing nationwide initiative for Singaporeans to lead and keep a healthy lifestyle, for example. It lets healthcare clusters team up with neighbourhood general practitioners (GPs) and the Health Promotion Board and encourage exercise, regular health screenings and guide better health habits for Singaporeans.

For example, a mindfulness expert near an Active Aging Centre in Bukit Panjang can now reach neighbourhood seniors through Healthier SG activities like the Joyful & Happiness Exercise on Thursday mornings.  

There is also Age Well SG, which was recently announced at the National Day Rally (Aug 20). Our Government has specially united to deliver it; the Ministries of Health, National Development and Transport are involved. It will strengthen support in the community for seniors with care needs, so it means opportunities to acknowledge the efforts of even more healthcare personnel, who are currently not recognised in awards like the NMEA.  

Source: Agency for Integrated Care / Facebook 

These Government initiatives add to the nation’s built-up strength in medical research and care delivery.  

In all, these health enablers might be unsung heroes, but these Government health and lifestyle initiatives do aid them with national- and neighbourhood-level support for their health journeys alongside older folk.   

So that Singaporeans live well

“We have therefore generated, a decisive and, I think, irreversible momentum to extend healthcare, specifically preventive care, in communities and homes,” said Minister Ong about these Government efforts to care for Singapore’s seniors. 

It is very much decisive, notes. Where Healthier SG was a major reform of Singapore’s healthcare system announced in 2022, Age Well SG works in tandem with it, particularly with infrastructure improvements. Future Government health initiatives for seniors can easily build upon these.    


The best way for our seniors to stay healthy is to age well in the community. Here’s how we’re taking care of them.

♬ original sound – Ye Kung Ong – Ye Kung Ong

It is also an appropriately irreversible momentum against Singapore’s inevitable demographic shift — our Party values far-sightedness, and tackling a known issue before it arrives.  

Plus, Minister Ong is, as he once famously noted, not in charge of the “Ministry of Sickness”; he’s here to help Singaporeans live well, keep healthy and prevent illness. 

Honouring more categories of people for their medical excellence, then, will support this long-term, national-level goal.  

It will be one more encouraging push in this momentum for preventive care as Singapore moves forward.