Yishun Community Hospital to be Singapore's biggest community hospital when completed

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, in a boring machine, officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony for Yishun Community Hospital yesterday. With him are (from right) Bukit Panjang MP Teo Ho Pin and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Muhamma
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, in a boring machine, officiating at the ground-breaking ceremony for Yishun Community Hospital yesterday. With him are (from right) Bukit Panjang MP Teo Ho Pin and Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Yishun facility to be paired with KTPH; offer rehab, dementia care

Construction is under way for a new 10-storey community hospital, the sixth and biggest to be built in Singapore.

When Yishun Community Hospital (YCH) is completed in 2015, it will house 428 beds.

The new facility will offer services such as rehabilitation and dementia care.

It will be for patients who have finished intensive treatment at general hospitals, but need more time to rest and recover before they go home, said Mr Liak Teng Lit, group chief executive of Alexandra Health System, which will run the new hospital.

Examples are people who were hurt in traffic accidents, or old folk who had a bad fall and suffered fractures.

YCH will work closely with neighbouring Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), helping it to ease the load by taking in the less critically ill patients.

The two hospital buildings will be close enough to be linked via "sky bridges", so patients can be easily transferred from one to the other. Each bridge is likely to be at least 20m long.

YCH will be the third hospital to be paired with a general hospital. The others are Changi General Hospital with St Andrew's Community Hospital, and Tan Tock Seng Hospital with Ren Ci Hospital.

"KTPH is ideal for acute care, but not so great if you need to hang around to catch your breath," said Mr Liak, who was speaking at YCH's ground-breaking yesterday.

Typically, community hospitals offer longer-term but less intensive care - usually for two to three weeks.

Mr Liak added that a typical ward at KTPH sends up to six patients home every day.

"After an hour, another five or six will be occupying those beds," he said.

Piling works at the 1.16ha site for YCH begin next week.

Together, the two hospitals will help to serve the 700,000 residents living in the north.

This latest development is part of the Government's plans to meet the growing health-care demands of a greying population, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

Mr Gan added that YCH will also house a new national institute that focuses on elder care.

The Geriatric Education and Research Institute will oversee research initiatives for age-related issues, and help to establish the curriculum on elder care for health-care workers.

YCH will also care for the terminally ill, and work with nursing homes in the area.

Mr Liak said the new hospital "will not let our patients lie in bed".

Instead, the surroundings will be made so pleasant that they would want to get up on their feet, he added.

"Green" features such as gardens will be on every floor. The building will be aligned to allow natural light to fill the wards.

"It shouldn't be a depressing place where you feel like dying - but a place where you look forward to getting up in the morning," said Mr Liak.

chpoon@sph.com.sg