After a leisurely breakfast, Mr Peh Chee Guan walks into the clinic and greets the clinic assistants. A short wait later, he enters the consultation room where Dr Eng Soo Kiang welcomes him with a smile and asks how the Peh family has been. After a quick chat about Mr Peh's health and medication, Dr Eng then begins the follow-up tests and check-ups that Mr Peh's chronic conditions require.
Dr Eng Soo Kiang is from Unity Family Medicine Clinic in Serangoon Central, and has been part of TTSH's Community Right Siting Programme (CRiSP) for all four years since the programme first started. Under the programme, stable chronic patients from TTSH Specialist Outpatient Clinics are appropriately reviewed and cared for at the primary care setting.
Mr Peh has been seeing Dr Eng since 2015, when he was discharged from TTSH's cardiovascular clinic in August that year. He noted that TTSH clinic visits could take up to three hours in the past, but his regular appointments with Dr Eng take no longer than an hour each time, and the clinic is much closer to his house.
He added that he actually felt reassured when his specialist discharged him for follow-up in primary care, as this was a signal that his condition was stable and improved. Mr Peh had even begun making the effort to lead a healthier lifestyle by jogging regularly.
As for Dr Eng, he feels that the GP community receives strong support from specialists through such partnerships. They feel involved as they are incorporated into the workflow of managing patients' care.
He added: "I hope that through these partnerships such as CRiSP, patients realise that their condition has improved and stabilized to a point that they no longer require specialist visits. Eventually, all of us healthcare providers hope for patients to become 'activated' to take care of their own health as their conditions improve. Patients can be self-motivated to lead healthier lifestyles, quit bad habits such as smoking, and be recognised for their efforts to make lifestyle changes."
Under CRiSP, primary care partners can manage patients with 30 common chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and ischaemic heart diseases. TTSH officially launched its partnership with primary care partners on 22 September 2018.