500-bed rehab hub next to TTSH to open in five years

The new Integrated Care Hub and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases are part of HealthCity Novena, which will be ready by 2030.
The new Integrated Care Hub and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases are part of HealthCity Novena, which will be ready by 2030.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

As part of HealthCity Novena, it will add to growing facilities for ageing population

Tan Tock Seng Hospital's (TTSH) new 500-bed rehabilitation complex, right next to the main hospital in Novena, opens in five years and will add to the growing number of healthcare facilities that cater to the needs of an ageing population.

The new Integrated Care Hub will be part of HealthCity Novena - a mega health complex scheduled for completion by 2030 that will include a hospital, medical school and step-down facilities, as well as the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

TTSH's hub will take in patients who have complex rehabilitation needs, such as those who have suffered spinal cord injuries or lost their limbs, and also care for those who no longer need the acute services of a general hospital but still require a degree of medical care.

In doing so, it will provide what Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor described as "the crucial link between the acute hospital and community care".

Speaking at the hub's ground- breaking ceremony yesterday, she noted that TTSH will also move its current rehabilitation services - including those in Ang Mo Kio - into the new centre when it is ready.

A fifth of the beds at the hub will be used by the Dover Park Hospice, located nearby in Jalan Tan Tock Seng, to care for the terminally ill. The rest of the beds - managed by TTSH - will be for those who need rehabilitation and sub-acute care.

"The Integrated Care Hub is part of our efforts to move beyond hospital-centric healthcare to care in the community," Dr Khor said.

"The elderly are more likely to face complex health issues and are at risk of being readmitted into hospitals if they do not receive proper care within the community and at home."

Dover Park Hospice, which will double its bed capacity after moving into the hub, hopes to benefit from the convenience of being nearer to the services it needs.

Its chairman, Professor Lionel Lee, said: "As it stands, there is still a transportation issue when you send patients for X-rays or physiotherapy, for example. We used to have to bring the therapists over, but now it will be quite easy."

Singapore Hospice Council chairman Angel Lee said this integration will help improve the quality of hospice care, which used to be something of an "orphan discipline".

She said: "What has spurred developments in recent years is the increasing recognition that it is an essential part of the whole healthcare landscape... With better support from the public and healthcare leaders, we have seen improvements in care, availability and accessibility."

Yesterday also marked the topping-out ceremony for the new National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation.

Both centres are expected to open in phases starting from next year.

Dr Khor said: "Given the extent of global travel today, we must always be on our guard against imported cases of infectious diseases of public health concern."

She added that the new infectious diseases centre - which will replace the century-old Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) in Moulmein Road and CDC 2 next to TTSH - will be able to handle large outbreaks and highly infectious diseases safely.

When there are no outbreaks, the centre will also take in patients from TTSH when appropriate.

Dr Khor said: "The new facility will integrate multiple functions - from public health surveillance to clinical disease management, to national research and training of healthcare professionals in the field of infectious diseases."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline '500-bed rehab hub next to TTSH to open in five years'. Print Edition | Subscribe