The National Skin Centre (NSC) improves and advances the skin health of the population by setting the highest standard of excellence in dermatological care, education, and research. NSC’s continued efforts extend into the community, collaborating with partners to deliver holistic care to frail patients in nursing homes. When COVID-19 emerged in Singapore, NSC staff stepped up to meet the nation’s needs, providing exemplary care at the frontlines.


When the number of COVID-19 infections surged in Singapore last year, NSC — together with the other NHG Institutions — augmented the medical and nursing manpower at the frontlines. From April to October 2020, close to 70 Medical, Nursing, Ancillary, Allied Health, and Administration staff were deployed or seconded across Singapore at the Community Care Facility (CCF) at Singapore EXPO and medical posts at the migrant worker dormitories, as well at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), and Admiralty Medical Centre (AdMC).

Adjustment of Clinic Operations

As a preventive infection control measure, NSC scaled down operations in February 2020 to focus on essential services, and to safeguard patient and staff safety. It suspended non-essential services and replaced face-to-face consultations with remote tele-dermatology sessions for vulnerable patients.

The Operations and Infection Control teams worked closely to establish a new Fever/Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) Clinic. It is a designated isolation area for patients with fever or URTI symptoms and deemed to be high-risk, requiring medical attention.

Teleconsultations For Patients

When Singapore entered into the Circuit Breaker in April 2020, NSC doctors, nurses, and staff from clinic operations and pharmacy worked together to coordinate teleconsultation sessions for patients and ensured the smooth home delivery of medication. This enabled patients to receive timely reviews and diagnoses of their medical conditions remotely, while keeping them safe with reduced contact and waiting times. It also saved cost and made care more convenient for patients who were frail or bedridden.

Ensuring Care Continuity Through Tele-Dermatology Nursing Services

In February 2020, when Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System (DORSCON) level to Orange, the dermatology nursing services at three nursing homes were suspended. To ensure care continuity, NSC converted its physical visits into tele-nurse consultation sessions in June 2020. Nurses from the nursing homes worked closely with NSC dermatology nurses to discuss appropriate care and treatments for residents’ conditions. Cases that required further assessment were escalated to the medical team for consultation.