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Hospital bed crunch: Better care network outside of hospitals needed

Published on Jan 11, 2014 7:43 PM
 
Patients waiting for beds in a large air-conditioned tent at Changi General Hospital (CGH) on Jan 7, 2014. The solution to the ongoing hospital bed crunch cannot just lie in adding new beds, says Mr Foo Hee Jug, the head of the upcoming Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The solution to the ongoing hospital bed crunch cannot just lie in adding new beds.

Instead, a network of patient care outside of a hospital is necessary, said the head of the upcoming Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on Saturday.

"The centre of gravity (in patient care) cannot be in an acute hospital setting," said Mr Foo Hee Jug, who is now chief executive at Jurong Health Services. "We must do and plan activities right now to get patients comfortable with community care."

Pointing to programmes like Tan Tock Seng Hospital's 'virtual hospital' where health managers are on hand 24/7 to advise elderly patients by phone or through home visits, Mr Foo said that improving transitional and community care by partnering doctors and primary care providers can help alleviate shortages.

 
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