SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong visited Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Friday to show his appreciation to the staff working on the first day of the Lunar New Year.
Hospital staff are among essential workers in Singapore.
It may be the first day of the Lunar New Year but it was business as usual at the hospital.
Mr Gan distributed oranges and hongbaos to the hospital staff and visited the patients.
"Despite the festive season, our healthcare workers are back to hospitals to man the important stations including the A&E (Accident and Emergency department),” said Mr Gan.
“And I visited the A&E this morning to ensure that when our patients need help and care they would be attended to promptly."
Mr Gan added that he wanted to encourage Singaporeans to have a healthy lifestyle, always be mindful of their health, to eat moderately, to exercise regularly and to stay active.
“This will help us to stay healthy and have a healthy Year of the Horse,” he said.
Meanwhile, nurses on duty said it gave them a greater sense of satisfaction to serve patients during holiday periods.
"It's quite an interesting experience to work on public holidays, because you can put a smile on patients' faces,” said Emilia Fan, a staff nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
“When you work and they say 'Oh, there's a Chinese nurse working!' then you can even converse in their local dialect… It makes them feel more at home.
“Even if the patients can't go home for reunion dinner or gatherings, you are still there to support and cheer them up."
Patients who suffer from mild or moderate symptoms are encouraged to visit a GP first before heading to an A&E department.
The Health Ministry has also issued a list of some 100 clinics which will remain open during the Lunar New Year period.
More information can be found on www.moh.gov.sg/cny2014. - CNA/rw
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