SINGAPORE: The new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine would further diversify Singapore’s higher education landscape and create more opportunities for Singaporeans locally, Minister for Education Heng Swee Keat said on Monday.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the school’s Novena Campus, Mr Heng said the opening of the new school would make more diverse and exciting opportunities available for local medical education.
He believed more Singaporeans would choose to study medicine in Singapore and contribute to the country’s healthcare sector.
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong was also present at the ceremony.
Mr Gan said the school, with the National Healthcare Group as its primary clinical partner, would play a pivotal role in training doctors to meet Singapore’s healthcare needs in 2020 and beyond.
He said beyond training enough doctors, medical schools must also train doctors who have the skills to care for patients in an evolving healthcare landscape.
The ground breaking ceremony marks a new phase of development for the joint medical school of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London.
The school, which aims to train doctors by tapping on the best of its two parent universities, will have dual campuses in Novena and Yunnan Garden.
Its Novena campus sits on the site where a hostel for medical students was built in 1924.
The building is being restored for use as its headquarters, together with a new high-rise Clinical Sciences Building which will be ready by June 2013 — in time for the first intake of 50 students in August 2013.
The Clinical Sciences Building is expected to be ready in 2015.
The campus at Yunnan Garden, which is slated to be completed in 2015, will have a new experimental medicine building.
This will create synergy with NTU’s engineering, sciences, business and medicine disciplines and complement the practical clinical training at the Novena Campus.
The dual campuses have been designed to spur medical innovations by the school’s faculty, students and research staff.
Its campus at Novena is near Tan Tock Seng Hospital and will offer students the benefit of clinical settings.
The campus at Yunnan Garden will leverage the close partnership between engineering, biological sciences and medicine.
President and rector of Imperial College London, Sir Keith O’Nions, said the school aims to produce world-class doctors.
“In the inspiring, cutting-edge learning environment, students will fulfil their potential and go on to make a real, lasting contribution to the healthcare of Singapore,” he said.
“In the future, a doctor from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine will stand out for their professionalism and their compassionate manner, putting the patients’ needs at the centre of all care.”
The school will also build on the strengths in science and engineering of NTU and Imperial College London to advance medical research.
Its pro-tem governing board chairman Lim Chuan Poh said the spirit of collaboration and partnership with the community will form the bedrock of the school.
“We see our students becoming doctors who see their patients as partners and working together with the nurses and other allied health professionals, for better patient outcomes,” he said.
“It is these partnerships built on professional and meaningful people-to-people relationships that will ensure the success of the school — people coming together to make the school world-class and help contribute towards medical excellence in Singapore.”
The school’s first five-year undergraduate medical degree programme begins in 2013.
Related: Medical School in Singapore