NHG chief quality officer recognised for efforts to improve patients’ safety
A NURSE has won the National Medical Excellence Awards (NMEA) this year, making it a first for the profession.
Mrs Nellie Yeo, chief quality officer at the National Healthcare Group (NHG), took the National Outstanding Clinical Quality Activist award – a new category introduced to recognise those who contribute significantly towards clinical quality and patient safety.
The 53-year-old Mrs Yeo, who has a master’s in nursing administration from the University of California, Los Angeles, said her passion for nursing came from wanting to “make things better, starting from the health-care system as a whole”.
One of her projects was a collaboration to combat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. The initiative helped cut infection rates at the National University Hospital (NUH) by half within a year.
“I am so humbled to be given this award. I could not have done what I did without my colleagues,” she said.
Sharing this new award was Associate Professor Tan Kok Hian, chairman of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s (KKH’s) Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Prof Tan, 48, whose projects included KKH’s Integrated Perinatal Care Project, helped the hospital save about $3 million in overall costs in the last financial year.
Mrs Yeo and Prof Tan were among the nine outstanding health-care professionals who were given the NMEA this year.
The recipients of each category received a plaque, a citation and a prize of $10,000 from Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Manpower, at the NMEA 2010 ceremony held at the Raffles Hotel last night.
Also among the winners were Professor A. Vathsala, who heads the Adult Renal Transplantation Programme at NUH; and former master of the Academy of Medicine, Professor Ho Lai Yun, who was awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Mentor Award.
Prof Vathsala was at the helm of many kidney transplants and was involved in shaping health-care policies to help transplant patients. She was given the National Outstanding Clinician Award.
Prof Ho, fondly known as the father of neonatology and child development at the Singapore General Hospital, pioneered many programmes in perinatal care, such as birth defects clinics, counselling services, multidisciplinary high-risk consultations, and the neonatal follow-up programme.