Alexandra Hospital to open new facilities, increase number of beds

Dr Wong Wen Kai teaching children how to use medical instruments at Alexandra Hospital's open house yesterday.
Dr Wong Wen Kai teaching children how to use medical instruments at Alexandra Hospital's open house yesterday.PHOTO: ALEXANDRA HOSPITAL

Alexandra Hospital, which was taken over by the National University Health System (NUHS) in June, plans to open new facilities and increase its 176 beds to around 300 by 2020 to cater to an expected growth in demand from the Queenstown area.

The hospital's chief executive Jason Phua gave the updates at the hospital's open house yesterday, which 500 residents from the area and other guests attended.

In January, new facilities will be opened, including a day surgery operating theatre, a joint reconstruction and replacement centre, an endoscopy centre, an admissions and service centre, as well as a pharmacy.

A dental centre and palliative care programme are set to start operations some time next year as well, said Associate Professor Phua.

By the end of this year, the hospital will have new inpatient wards, and beds will be added when the need arises, he added.

"Even before we took over Alexandra Hospital, we went out to Queenstown and surveyed many residents to understand how we could better meet their healthcare needs," he said. Alexandra Hospital was run by the Sengkang Health Team, before the team moved to the new Sengkang General Hospital this year.

Prof Phua said following residents' feedback, the hospital has rolled out an integrated care model, in which patients with many chronic conditions need to make only one appointment and see one doctor - instead of multiple ones.

At the event, Dr Chia Shi-Lu, an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC who oversees Queenstown, noted that the estate has an estimated population of 100,000 and one of the highest concentrations of elderly residents in the western part of Singapore.

Close to 20 per cent of residents are aged 65 and above, he added, and a significant proportion are at risk of social isolation, or may not be able to manage their chronic illnesses well.

Given that many residents live with multiple chronic illnesses, he said, health screenings will be key to helping them detect diseases and take action before it is too late.

Housewife Lam Lai Peng, 69, a Queenstown resident of over 30 years, is happy that there will be new facilities at Alexandra Hospital, a 20-minute walk from her home. "My 97-year-old mother-in-law stays in the hospital sometimes when she is feeling unwell," she said.

Madam Lam hopes the wider range of facilities and increase in number of beds mean the hospital will be able to cater to the family in case of any emergencies. "It is a lot nearer for us to visit the hospital here, and the taxi fare will be cheaper as well," she said.

Seow Bei Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2018, with the headline 'Alexandra Hospital to open new facilities, increase number of beds'. Print Edition | Subscribe