New Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is more patient- and eco-friendly

SINGAPORE - The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital which will open in two months' time has generated much buzz among Singaporeans.

The building's design is one talking point - some people have commented that it looks like a condominium.

Sleek architecture aside, the hospital in Jurong has many practical and green features. For instance, it was constructed to allow as much natural light and ventilation as possible. It is also intended to be energy-efficient, using less energy and water than is typical for a building of its size.

The hospital was jointly designed by the local CPG Corporation, United States-based HOK, and Melbourne-based studio505.

Here's a look at some of its noteworthy features.

ACCESSIBILITY

Specialist outpatient clinics at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will be housed in an eight-storey tower, while inpatient services will be in a separate building. The nearby Jurong Community Hospital (JCH) will be located in another 12-storey building.

All three buildings will be connected via link bridges. However, for infection control purposes, patients and hospital staff will use bridges on Level 3, while the general public will use on Level 2.

BED CAPACITY

There will be 700 acute beds, with an additional 400 beds from JCH. About six in 10 of the acute beds are subsidised, in Class B2 or C wards.

The older, larger public hospitals, such as the Singapore General Hospital, typically have more than 1,000 beds. However, very few of them have step-down care community hospital facilities so conveniently available.

SIMPLIFIED SYSTEMS

At the hospital's specialist outpatient clinics, patients will use the same queue number throughout the visit - at every clinic and service point. Payment for all services will be consolidated into one bill at the end.

CRITICAL CARE

The intensive care and high-dependency units will be merged, instead of separated as they are in most hospitals. This means that patients will be cared for by the same team, lowering the chance of medical errors. Stable patients can also be wheeled out to outdoor gardens on the same floor.

A&E PROCEDURE

The hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department combines registration, triage, and consultation, which, hopefully, will speed up waiting time.

Patients who do not need to be warded will also be able to collect their medication and make payment at the same time.

In most hospitals, these are typically broken down into separate steps, which contributes towards long waiting times.

ORIENTATION

The hospital's ward towers are built in an East-West orientation, which takes advantage of prevailing winds to provide ventilation.

Sun angles were studied over a year to make sure ward rooms would receive the optimum amount of daylight without too much glare. For example, light shelves above ward windows were constructed to provide shade.

WARD DESIGN

The wards have a fan-shaped design, allowing each bed to be placed next to a window with greenery outside. The design improves ventilation and natural light, and can help to speed up a patient's recovery.

This is a first for a public hospital, as most existing hospital wards are rectangular, with windows only at the end of the room.

ECO-FRIENDLY

The hospital's internal hot water supply and energy for landscape lighting will be provided by solar energy.

Harvested rainwater will be the main source of irrigation for its rooftop gardens, while Newater will be used in the cooling towers of its air-conditioning system.

It is estimated that the energy saved could power nearly 4,000 five-room HDB flats for a year, while the water saved could fill about 27 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

TRAFFIC SAFETY & MOBILITY PARK

The adjacent JCH will be the first hospital in Singapore to feature a traffic safety and mobility park.

With features such as ramps, steps and textured surfaces, the park simulates the outside environment to help patients re-adapt after a long hospital stay. It will have an actual bus, MRT train carriage, and taxi for patients to learn to take public transport on their own.