New NKF dialysis centre that doubles as outreach centre opens in Nee Soon South

Staff showing Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam (in white) and Nee Soon GRC grassroots adviser Lee Bee Wah (third from left) around the new dialysis centre at Nee Soon South, on July 31, 2016.
Staff showing Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam (in white) and Nee Soon GRC grassroots adviser Lee Bee Wah (third from left) around the new dialysis centre at Nee Soon South, on July 31, 2016.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - To educate more residents on the prevention of kidney diseases, a new dialysis centre in Nee Soon South will double up as a community outreach centre, in a move that is the first for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) here.

Located at Block 840, Yishun Street 81, the centre includes a public area that can host activities such as health screenings, nutrition workshops and exercise classes. This is unlike the existing 30 NKF dialysis centres, which are not opened to the public.

On Sunday morning (July 31), Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam and Nee Soon GRC grassroots organisations advisor Lee Bee Wah officially opened the centre at the annual Nee Soon South Community Health Fair.

Funded by the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (Scal) and the government at a cost of $1.9 million, the Scal-NKF Dialysis Centre has 14 dialysis stations that can serve up to 84 patients at a time.

Patients can choose to wait for the dialysis treatment at the community area, where they are able to interact closely with residents as well.

"By bringing education and prevention programmes to the community's doorstep, we believe that it will continue to imbue the spirit of inclusiveness and community bonding," said NKF chairman Koh Poh Tiong in his opening address.

With a new case seen every five hours, NKF dialysis centres here are "operating at near full capacity" to support about 4,000 needy patients, he said, adding that the new centre is a "welcome relief" for many Nee Soon residents.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines, Ms Lee said: "I find that there are more residents undergoing kidney dialysis treatment and quite often, I will have to write an appeal letter for them to transfer to a centre that is nearer to home ... Now that it is just at their doorstep, it saves them time and transport costs."

For housewife Low Cheng Koon, 51, going for dialysis treatment will now be a 15-minute walk away from home, compared to an hour-long bus ride thrice a week for the past six months.

"Walking to the dialysis centre in the morning is also a form of exercise for me. And after that, I can buy groceries nearby before going home to cook. It's definitely more convenient," she said in Mandarin.

The centre also features a new queue system that allows patients to undergo treatment using any available dialysis chair. Previously, they would be pre-allocated a chair for their session, which would add on to the waiting time if there are delays.

High dependency patients can also be moved nearer to the nurses as the dialysis chairs at the new centre are fitted with wheels.

Rehabilitative exercise equipment, computers and a pantry are available at the community area to enhance the comfort and experience for patients and residents.

On Sunday morning, some 200 Nee Soon residents attended the health screening at the fair.