SINGAPORE - Alexandra Hospital, which was taken over by the National University Health System (NUHS) in June, plans to open new facilities and increase its number of beds to around 300 by 2020.
The hospital in Queenstown plans to add more beds to its current 176 to cater to an expected growth in demand from the surrounding areas.
The updates were given by hospital chief executive Jason Phua at the hospital's open house on Sunday (Oct 28).
In January next year, the hospital will open new facilities 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 sometime 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 told reporters. Alexandra Hospital was run by the Sengkang Health Team, before the team moved to the new Sengkang General Hospital this year.
Prof Phua said one of the things residents asked for was an easier way to navigate the healthcare system.
The hospital has thus 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.
About 500 Queenstown residents as well as taxi and bus drivers and their families turned up for the open house at Alexandra Hospital, and were given health tips.
Said Alexandra Hospital cardiologist Jeanette Ting: "Based on studies done locally, about 10 to 15 per cent of our patients with cardiac disease are taxi, bus or lorry drivers."
"Many factors contribute to this: long working hours, a largely sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary habits and a lack of exercise," she added.
Housewife Lam Lai Peng, 69, a Queenstown resident of over 30 years, said she was happy that there will be new facilities at Alexandra Hospital, which is 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 that the wider range of facilities and increase in beds means 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.