Covid-19: S'pore seeking volunteers from 'all walks of life' to support healthcare workers

3,000 former healthcare professionals have also come back to take on their previous roles, but more manpower is required.

Nigel Chua | April 28, 2020, 08:36 PM

People from "all walks of life" are being asked to volunteer for Singapore's healthcare system in combating Covid-19, in response to the growing need for additional manpower.

Non-healthcare professionals welcome

The appeal for volunteers is for those a without healthcare background as well.

"In fact, all are welcome," health minister Gan Kim Yong said at an Apr. 28 press conference, adding that "going forward, we'll need a lot more help from people, and I think it's good for Singaporeans to step forward."

SG Healthcare Corps

Gan said that "people from all walks of life" could sign up on the SG Healthcare Corps portal. The SG Healthcare Corps was launched on Apr. 7, and sought help from healthcare professionals such as nurses, to be on standby to support those in Covid-19 related operations.

These volunteers would then be matched up with available roles and given the required training packages.

Roles which volunteers might play

Non-healthcare workers could be involved in administrative and support roles, the health ministry’s Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak said at a technical briefing on Apr. 28.

This would free up healthcare professionals who currently carry out those tasks, allowing them to be deployed to frontline roles where they would help to manage Covid-19 patients.

Skillsets will be matched, training provided

Mak explained that there would be a process to match volunteers' skillsets to existing needs.

Mak also said that specific training packages would be provided, to make sure that volunteers would be able to perform their roles competently.

More healthcare professionals still needed

Mak said that around 3,000 healthcare professionals have signed up to join the SG Healthcare Corps since it was launched on Apr. 7.

This includes former healthcare professionals who pursued a second career outside of healthcare, and who have now come back to take on their previous roles.

It also includes some who have come back out of retirement, as well as those from the private sector, Mak said.

Mak also asked for more healthcare workers to sign up, in order to fill roles such as forming swab testing teams, to support medical teams deployed to dormitories to care for foreign workers.

Healthcare workers might not be doing their "normal jobs"

Mak explained that healthcare workers who volunteered might not be doing their "normal jobs", citing the example of dentists who are currently deployed in swab testing teams, due to the fact that they were well-trained in the use of personal protective equipment.

Additional manpower required for new facilities

The call for volunteers arises from additional manpower requirements at various "expanded healthcare facilities", Mak said.

These expanded facilities, including the Community Care Facilities (CCFs) at D’Resort, Singapore EXPO, and Changi Exhibition Centre, are used to house the rapidly rising numbers of Covid-19 patients.

Besides CCFs, recovering Covid-19 patients may now be transferred to Community Recovery Facilities (CRFs), Brigadier-General David Neo announced at the press conference on Apr. 28.

Other non-healthcare workers involved in Covid-19 efforts:

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Top image via TTSH on Facebook