Mount Alvernia Hospital opens new building; turns some of its focus towards elderly

SINGAPORE - Mount Alvernia Hospital, long the top private baby hospital in Singapore, will be turning some of its focus towards the elderly.

At the official opening of its new eight-storey Medical Centre on Monday, its chief executive officer Mr Lee Suen Meng said: "In view of the rapidly ageing population in Singapore, we will also be designing and realigning our services and facilities to better meet the needs of the ageing population in future."

In line with this change, it has offered free health screening to more than 25,000 Singaporeans, the majority of whom were elderly or less mobile, he said.

Its chairman, Mr Philip Tan said that in addition to a geriatric clinic, there will also be cardiology, neurology, orthopaedic and ophthalmology clinics, that will be useful to older patients.

Maternity and paediatric care however will remain its core. Mt Alvernia expects to deliver about 6,400 babies this year, up from just over 6,000 last year.

Mr Lee said the new medical centre block will increase the number of clinic suites by 50 per cent, to around 80. The hospital has about 1,200 accredited doctors, with about 130 on site.

It has also added two more operating theatres bringing the total at the hospital to 10. This will mean shorter waiting times for patients. Mr Lee added that some procedures, especially orthopedic surgery for the elderly, would take longer, hence the need for additional operating theatres.

Mr Lee said the $35 million medical centre, with parking for 350 cars, is the first phase of its expansion plans, with the addition of 33 more beds coming next, as well as more operating theatres.

Mr Tan said expansion has to be done slowly as the not-for-profit hospital generates its own funds. But it has the space to expand, as the Assisi Hospice next door will move into new premises in 2017. Both the hospital and the hospice belong to the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood.

The new block was officially opened by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and blessed by Archbishop William Goh at a simple ceremony on Monday.