The Straits Times says

Bringing healthcare closer to home

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Ang Mo Kio residents are now able to access specialist care in their neighbourhood with the launch of a centre run by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). The facility in Ang Mo Kio will involve polyclinics and general practitioners (GPs) more closely in managing the health of residents. This move will be in keeping with the recently announced Healthier SG strategy that shifts from a hospital-centric model to a more sustainable preventive care one. The TTSH Ang Mo Kio Specialist Centre brings a suite of specialist healthcare facilities and services right to where residents live and aims to offer continuity of care. According to TTSH, key services from three of its clinics - diabetes care, specialist eye care, and care for hearing-related issues - have been redesigned to make them more accessible, sustainable and appropriate for delivery at the Ang Mo Kio centre.

While Ang Mo Kio residents naturally would cheer the move, the success of this experiment in healthcare decentralisation holds promise for the rest of Singapore too. Even in a small island city state, the provision of healthcare cannot ignore the reality that distance plays in how patients benefit from that care. For the sick, the time that they take to travel to even the nearest hospital, and how long they have to wait there before receiving the attention they need, play an important part in their sense of well-being and their experience and expectations of the system.

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