New Outram Community Hospital to ease crunch with additional 550 beds

A model of Outram Community Hospital, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020 and will add another 550 beds to Singapore's healthcare system. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
A model of Outram Community Hospital, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020 and will add another 550 beds to Singapore's healthcare system. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (far right) with SingHealth staff and CEO Ivy Ng (second from right) at Outram Community Hospital's groundbreaking ceremony on May 21, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (far right) with SingHealth staff and CEO Ivy Ng (second from right) at Outram Community Hospital's groundbreaking ceremony on May 21, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (second from right) with SingHealth CEO Ivy Ng (far right) looking at a model of Outram Community Hospital, due to be completed by 2020, at the groundbreaking ceremony on May 21, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (second from right) with SingHealth CEO Ivy Ng (far right) looking at a model of Outram Community Hospital, due to be completed by 2020, at the groundbreaking ceremony on May 21, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

SINGAPORE - A new community hospital in Outram, scheduled to be completed by 2020, will add another 550 beds to Singapore's healthcare system, easing the national bed crunch.

Situated near the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), 500 of the beds in the new Outram Community Hospital (OCH) will be for sub-acute patients and 50 of these beds will be for palliative care patients.

Patients will be transferred from acute wards at SGH to this step-down care facility. Many seniors suffer from conditions like stroke which require rehabilitation at a community hospital before they are discharged home.

This is why the new community hospital is particularly important to the Bukit Merah community. The area has the second-highest number of residents aged 65 and above in Singapore, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong speaking at OCH's groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday.

The profile of patients visiting SGH is also getting older. Last year, over 41 per cent or 32,000 of SGH's inpatient discharges were elderly patients aged 65 and above, he added.

OCH will house a dialysis facility, so that patients warded in the hospital do not need to travel to other centres for dialysis. Patients discharged from OCH can also come back to the hospital from dialysis.

Said Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of SingHealth Ang Chong Lye: "The new model of care at the community hospital will focus on optimising patients' recovery to prepare them to transit back home. With this end in mind, the rehab process starts early while patients are still receiving their inpatient medical treatment so they get a head start in the healing process."

For instance, rooms for practising rehabilitation exercises are integrated into each ward. A rooftop garden will also contain rehabilitation facilities to develop patients' abilities in tasks like getting in and out of vehicles and gardening. A portion of the hospital will also be set up like a typical two-room flat, to simulate a home environment where patients can practise daily tasks like making beverages or chopping food with the guidance of a therapist.

These details were revealed at the groundbreaking ceremony of OCH on Thursday, attended by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor.

The hospital will also be working with other healthcare partners such as HCA Hospice Care to provide outpatient services.

The construction of OCH comes as Singapore sees a bed crunch in recent years where patients have been housed in beds on hospital corridors. The new 700-bed Ng Teng Fong Hospital is slated to be open in July while the 425-bed Yishun Community Hospital is slated to open in December this year.