Speech by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Dover Park Hospice Virtual Sunflower Charity Dinner on 18 September 2020.
Good evening. I am happy to be part of Dover Park Hospice’s first virtual Sunflower Charity Dinner.
Spirit of Singapore Together
COVID-19 has disrupted many lives and livelihoods, globally and in Singapore.
If there is a silver lining from this crisis, it is how this virus has strengthened our sense of common purpose as a nation and brought out the best from each of us.
Singaporeans have come together to support the vulnerable among us, including our seniors and children from lower-income families. Some donated their Solidarity Payment to causes they care about. This is the spirit of the Singapore Together movement, where everyone steps forward to play his or her part, strengthening our collective resolve to overcome this crisis.
Spotlight on Palliative care
Even before this crisis, Dover Park Hospice has been a beneficiary of the many acts of generosity shown by Singaporeans. The generous support of your donors, together with Government matching grants for donations, has enabled Dover Park Hospice to subsidise almost 90% of your patients.
Palliative care has made great strides since the hospice movement in Singapore started, in the 1980s. But more can still be done to raise awareness of palliative care, especially with our population ageing rapidly.
As an Asian society, dying and death remain difficult conversation topics for most. Palliative care is more than medical care. It also encompasses the social-emotional and spiritual wellbeing of patients and their caregivers.
Expansion of Dover Park Hospice
I am glad to learn that Dover Park Hospice has expanded your services to cater to the growing healthcare needs of our population. You opened your day care facility last October, and recently expanded your home care services to serve non-cancer patients with end stage organ failure. Dover Park Hospice is also the first home palliative care provider with a dedicated programme for patients with advanced dementia, aptly named Programme Dignity. You have also extended support to caregivers.
In such trying times, I applaud the team at Dover Park Hospice for your dedication and hard work in caring for your patients. I read your most recent annual report, and was inspired by one line – “Every moment matters, even in the time of COVID-19”. Indeed you must continue to innovate and provide the best care to your patients despite the circumstances.
Given the economic downturn, many charities are finding it harder to raise funds. So I appreciate the support of everyone at tonight’s dinner. I would also like to thank the organising committee for your creativity in putting this event together.
Dover Park Hospice has come a long way since your founding in 1992. I am confident that you will continue to grow and contribute to the palliative care sector.
Thank you and enjoy the evening ahead.
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