Dr James Tan Wen Tien - Novena Pain

Dr James Tan Wen Tien

Specialty: Anaesthesiology / Pain Medicine

Dr James Tan received his basic medical education in the United Kingdom at University College London, where he obtained his MBBS (London). On returning to Singapore, he trained in anaesthesia obtaining his Masters of Medicine (Anesthesiology) followed by his specialist accreditation in 2006. He is also a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthesia (FANZCA), as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS). He was awarded the Healthcare Manpower Development Plan scholarship by MOH to pursue training in pain medicine in Australia in 2009, and trained at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney under the mentorship of Prof Michael Cousins. His comprehensive training at the well-known pain centre included multidisciplinary management of chronic and cancer pain and in particular, the ADAPT pain management program based on cognitive-behavioural principles, as well as various advanced interventional procedures performed in the management of refractory pain.

Before leaving public practice, he spent the last 19 years at National University Hospital where he was a senior consultant at the Department of Anaesthesia and Head of the Division of Pain Management which comprises the Acute and Chronic/Cancer Pain Services. Under his leadership, the Pain Management Unit has grown steadily in terms of number of the specialists and patients seen. He won awards for his clinical projects and started a Pain Management Fellowship Training Program accredited by the Singapore Medical Council.

Dr James Tan is also appointed as an Assistant Professor by the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine for his contributions towards teaching of undergraduates and postgraduates in the field of Medicine. He has lectured at both Primary and Final Masters of Medicine (Anaesthesiology) courses, and is also examiner at various sittings of the Anaesthesia examinations. He is also appointed as Ancillary Committee Member of the TSOP Review Committee by MOH.

He was an ex-council member of the Pain Association of Singapore (2007-2009, 2010-2014) where he organised various symposiums and talks to promote the awareness of chronic pain conditions for both doctors and patients. The highlight of this period was being the scientific chairperson for the ASEAPS 2013 meeting held in Singapore which attracted more than 800 delegates from over 50 countries. He was part of the PAS Task force that published the first recommendation for the use of opioids in chronic non-cancer pain in Singapore. He has been invited to participate in numerous scientific meetings and public symposiums in Singapore and overseas, and recently was expert instructor at the first cooled radiofrequency cadaveric course in Singapore organised by Avanos in July 2022. His special interests in interventional pain include the application of pulsed radiofrequency to difficult nerve pain conditions, and is a pioneer in the use of cooled radiofrequency for the treatment of degenerative joint pains of the spine, hip, shoulder and knee which can offer pain relief to selected patients without surgery. He was part of the Avanos Key Opinion Leaders Advocacy Board Meeting in 2021, and represented Singapore at the Avanos Global Webinar in 2020 “Cooled Radiofrequency Surgical Techniques and Best Practices”. His other interest in the field of pain medicine is the application of preventive analgesia to acute pain due to surgery or trauma which can block the transition to and development of chronic pain.

Although his main interest is pain medicine and the management of acute, chronic and cancer pain, Dr James Tan is a skilled anaesthetist due to his many years in a tertiary hospital with a special interest in obstetric and regional anaesthesia.

Career Highlights

  • Appointed Ancillary Committee Member of the TOSP Review Committee (Pain/Anaesthesia), MOH
  • Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Pain Management, Department of Anaesthesia, National University Hospital
  • Assistant Professor, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
  • Singapore representative at the Avanos Global Webinar on “Cooled Radiofrequency Surgical Techniques and Best Practices” and Avanos 1st COOLIEF Key Opinion Leaders Advocacy Board Meeting
  • Fellowship in Pain Management, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Fellow of the Healthcare Manpower Development Plan (MOH/National Healthcare Group)
  • Ex-council member, Pain Association of Singapore
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Instructor, The Centre for Healthcare Simulation, NUS Medicine
  • National University Health System Anaesthesia Residency Program Best Teacher Award
  • National University Hospital Quality Improvement Project Merit Award “Improving the Screening and Workflow for Management of Post-Dural Puncture Headaches”