In late March we had the pleasure of welcoming a delegation of our clinical and administrative colleagues from LKCMedicine and Tan Tock Seng Hospital to London for an intensive week themed around clinical education and curriculum. The objective of the visit was to build relationships and allow an opportunity for the respective speciality leads from Singapore to meet their Imperial counterparts.
The Singapore delegation outside of the Falmouth Gate entrance to Imperial
The first day of the visit set the pace for the rest and began with a welcome from Imperial's Faculty of Medicine Vice-Dean and LKCMedicine Senior Vice-Dean Professor Jenny Higham, followed by an introduction to Imperial and an outline of the objectives and schedule for the week from Mr Martin Lupton, Head of Imperial's Undergraduate School of Medicine.
The delegation were then taken on a whistle-stop tour of three of Imperial's clinical sites – West Middlesex University Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital – to demonstrate the range of teaching hospitals Imperial and its students have to work with both logistically and educationally. The visitors met students, junior doctors, senior doctors and other educators who are involved in teaching Imperial undergraduates and toured a variety of teaching facilities.
For the rest of the week, the pace was no different. The LKCMedicine speciality leads met with their respective leads at the latters' own sites, spending time touring the hospitals, meeting Imperial students and observing teaching. The leads also spent time discussing curriculum content and the contextual needs of the curriculum to the Singapore environment with their counterparts.
The week also gave the opportunity for members of the delegation to meet with the Curriculum Development Team in London, and together they discussed matters relating to the development of the Year 3 curriculum and assessment.
The administrative colleagues also met with their counterparts to discuss how clinical education was managed, administered and quality assured from both the School of Medicine and National Health Service perspective.
LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best and Executive Vice-Dean Professor Lionel Lee were also in town and attended some of the programme, amongst their other commitments.
The visit culminated in a 'mini conference', which was based around various aspects of clinical education. After an introduction by Mr Lupton, Prof Best gave a fantastic opening presentation about the importance of having a distinct identity as a medical school. This was followed by numerous speakers from LKCMedicine and Imperial.
Whilst we kept our visitors extremely busy, we felt it was important to give our guests a taste of British culture and arranged private visits and tours of Westminster School (of which our own Mr Lupton and Deputy Curriculum Development Lead Dr Anna Romito are alumni) and Kensington Palace, still home to many members of the British Royal Family. Sadly, we did not get a glimpse of any of the Royals, but learnt a great deal about the early history of the building, which is just a short stroll from Imperial's South Kensington Campus.
Despite the fun, the week was very much overshadowed by the sadness of the passing of both Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding Prime Minister and LKCMedicine's own Professor Vijayan Appasamy who was the lead for surgery and should have been attending the visit. Both were very much in our thoughts throughout the week.
The Imperial leads are now looking forward to their reciprocal visit in early June when they will get to visit their counterparts and experience the Singapore's healthcare and medical education system first-hand, which will help inform and contextualise their involvement with the collaboration.