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The Masterminds – The NCCS DORS Task Force Team

Organising a coordinated response from various departments is a tricky and complex operation. It requires detailed planning and hard work to adapt quickly to the rapidly changing situation and ensure that NCCS responds swiftly to the challenges of COVID-19.

This is the task of the DORS (Disease Outbreak Response System) Task Force Team. This team comprising 30 members who work under the leadership of DORS Task Force Chairman, Dr Kwek Jin Wei & DORS Task Force Alternate Chairman, Dr Claramae Chia to manage the crisis.

Even before the first few cases of COVID-19 emerged in Singapore, the DORS Team was activated to start preparing. We speak to Christopher Lim, the NCCS DORS Task Force Coordinator to find out how the taskforce works.


"There are several other staff volunteers helping the DORS Team on top of their current workload. The strong teamwork is a huge encouragement"



Every day I'm shuffling

With the evolving COVID-19 situation, every day brings a different challenge. Changes fly thick and fast.  Hence, the day's activities are never the same for the DORS team. This multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, allied health, research and administrative staff has to tackle diverse issues such as infection prevention and control measures, operational matters, manpower crunch, clinical concerns, IT system accessibility, infrastructure enhancement, security protocols, infection cluster studies, staff well-being as well as public and staff communications. They also handle what needs to be done behind the scenes such as contact tracing.

"My colleagues and I facilitate the situation briefs, such as the daily task force huddles or senior management meetings. We also help to communicate important updates to protocols and working instructions which guide how NCCS manages the situation every day," explained Christopher. "That much remains constant, but the rest of the job is reacting to daily changes and challenges, managing them and planning ahead as much as we can."

There are several team members who support the DORS Task Force like Christopher. "I really appreciate the great teamwork and camaraderie. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much," said Christopher, as he breaks into a wide smile.


Every day I'm juggling

The responsibilities of being part of the DORS Team fit nicely into Christopher's skill-set. In his regular role at NCCS, Christopher is Assistant Manager with the Department of Institute Risk Management.  That role requires engaging business units to identify, assess and evaluate different types of risks that can affect the department. They then work to devise strategies to minimise, eliminate or mitigate the risks.


First one in, last ones out

Part of the responsibility of the DORS team members is to be updated on the daily situation before the rest of the operations team, such as before the triage members arrive. Often, this means that DORS team members are the first to arrive in NCCS and usually the last to leave. The longs hours are possible because of understanding and supportive spouses and family members.

[Read about what the Triage team does in Part 1 of "Behind NCCS"]



Adapt and evolve

Members of the DORS team have to constantly deal with change. Plans are revised, rewritten and adapted so that the team can respond accordingly should the situation escalates. "There are plenty of changes to workflows and routine instructions based on the dynamic situation everyday. In addition, we will assess the operations daily and constantly discuss how we can improve our patient and staff experience given the heightened measures and protocols," says Christopher. "These tough measures will not be popular for everyone. Hence, the support from Senior Management to the DORS team has become a critical enabler for us to enforce these stringent measures. We also keep in close touch with the SGH Campus task force, as well as our satellite clinics in Sengkang General Hospital and Changi General Hospital."

As the day wears on, the DORS Team calls for impromptu huddles and discussions. They continue to assess current operations and discuss how to make things better – constantly. It's not just about making things work, but balancing the necessity of stringent checks and screening, with best possible haste and comfort for patients and staff.


"Everyone is precious to us"


Why does Christopher and the DORS Team do what they do? "This COVID-19 situation is unavoidable and we want to step forward to help," said Christopher. "Everyone is precious to us. We want to do all we can to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe."

  

"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going", Joseph P. Kennedy