SINGAPORE – Senior medical technologist Anna Tang once took blood for a woman in her 70s, whose husband had chronic illnesses and was bedridden at home.

The elderly woman said her husband missed many of his blood tests and medical appointments, as she found it difficult to take him to the polyclinic.

Ms Tang, 48, referred the case to the polyclinic’s social workers, but said she wished she could have done more to help them.

This experience, coupled with accounts from caregivers with similar challenges, led her to volunteer to start a home phlebotomy service in July 2016. The service entails having a phlebotomist go to patients’ homes to do blood tests and collect urine samples.

For her role in setting up this service, Ms Tang on Friday (July 19) received the Dare to Do award at the annual Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards reception held at Gardens by the Bay.

This award recognises nominees who tried something new, persevered in their efforts and acted fast to solve problems. There were 80 awards lauding public officers and agencies for excellent work and organisational practices.

Ms Tang recounted some challenges in starting the initiative, including patients not answering the door or not being at home during scheduled visit times.

However, she said she persevered as the service would save patients and their caregivers a lot of stress and time.

“We are seeing an increasing number of patients over the years, especially elderly patients, who are immobile and require special transport arrangements for them to take their blood tests at clinics – this causes inconvenience and stress to the caregivers,” said Ms Tang, who works for National Healthcare Group Diagnostics.

“I foresee that this service will be very much needed in the future with the ageing population in Singapore,” she added.

The winners also included the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras), which clinched the Transformative Agency of the Year Award.

The authority has made tax filing easier, through features such as auto-included income details as well as instantaneous tax bills for 212,000 taxpayers who filed their returns, so they can better plan their finances.

In addition, 42,000 parents with children born in 2018 also enjoyed the convenience of having their child relief automatically pre-filled in their electronic returns this year.

Iras chief executive Ng Wai Choong said the agency engaged more than 300 taxpayers and businesses to better understand their needs.

It then redesigned its services and introduced new features to “make taxpaying more seamless and convenient, without compromising on revenue collection”, he added.

“We hope to roll out more service improvements to make taxpaying a breeze.”