In a move towards bolstering Singapore’s national resilience, the Ministry of Health (MOH), Public Service Division (PSD), and the Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group have partnered through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
This partnership, which builds upon their collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, aims to enhance manpower planning and deployment for future national crises.
The focus is on training Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Scoot cabin crew volunteers, ensuring their readiness to undertake diverse healthcare support roles as part of Singapore’s national crisis response.
Initiatives Outlined in the MOU
The trilateral MOU signifies a robust collaboration in two key areas. Firstly, the peacetime training and volunteer deployment of cabin crew in support care roles.
Secondly, tabletop exercises will be conducted to stress test crisis response protocols. The MOU was officially signed by key representatives:
Mr. Chan Yeng Kit, Permanent Secretary (Health) from MOH; Ms. Teoh Zsin Woon, Permanent Secretary (Development) from PSD; and Mr. Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer of SIA.
SIA Group’s Crucial Role in COVID-19 Pandemic
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SIA Group demonstrated a commendable commitment to national service.
With surplus manpower due to reduced operations, SIA and Scoot collaborated closely with MOH and PSD, redeploying over 2,000 staff to frontline roles in various public agencies and healthcare institutions.
Among them, more than 900 cabin crew served as Care Ambassadors, supporting healthcare institutions in patient care.
This strategic deployment of SIA and Scoot staff extended to roles such as Transport Ambassadors, Contact Tracing Executives, and Social Service Office Processing Officers.
The adaptability of the crew allowed a swift recovery for the SIA Group when borders reopened and crisis operations were stood down.
Learning from Experience: Future Crisis Response
Drawing valuable insights from the pandemic experience, MOH, PSD, and the SIA Group collaboratively developed a partnership to expedite and coordinate action in the event of another national crisis.
This proactive approach seeks to streamline the process of deploying surplus manpower to critical roles during emergencies.
SIA Group Ambassadors
As part of the Singapore crisis response collaboration, the SG Healthcare Corps will oversee the training and deployment of approximately 50 SIA and Scoot cabin crew.
These dedicated individuals will volunteer as SIA Group Ambassadors at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and Changi General Hospital starting from April 2024. The SIA Group Ambassadors will join a pool of around 200 trained SG Healthcare Corps care volunteers, collectively supporting the healthcare workforce to meet patient needs.
Mr. Chan Yeng Kit, Permanent Secretary (Health) from MOH emphasized, “Even as MOH continues to build our healthcare workforce, the SG Healthcare Corps strengthens the resilience of our healthcare system during peacetime and future crises.”
This sentiment was echoed by Ms. Teoh Zsin Woon, Permanent Secretary (Development) from PSD highlighting the MOU as a successful public-private partnership that strengthens collaborations during peacetime, ensuring preparedness for future challenges.
SIA CEO Comments
Mr. Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer of SIA, acknowledged the surplus manpower of the SIA Group during the pandemic and emphasized the positive impact of their redeployment.
Praising their warm and caring nature, professionalism, and dedication to customer service, he noted that formalizing the partnership through the MOU establishes a pathway for seamless redeployment in similar situations.
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