Bigger polyclinic, new nursing home at Jurong health hub

Jurong Polyclinic (left) used to be the most crowded in Singapore until Pioneer Polyclinic was opened in 2017 in Jurong West and took some of the load, although it still remains crowded.
Jurong Polyclinic (above) used to be the most crowded in Singapore until Pioneer Polyclinic was opened in 2017 in Jurong West and took some of the load, although it still remains crowded.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Integrated facilities set to be ready by 2025; nursing home will also offer short-term care for elderly

A new health hub will be built in Jurong that integrates a much bigger polyclinic with a 700-bed nursing home that will also provide short-term care for the elderly, so caregivers can have a break.

Announcing this yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said the move is timely, as Jurong's population is older than the national average.

By 2025, when the new polyclinic and nursing home are ready, one in four residents would be more than 65 years old.

To cater to them, the polyclinic will have wider corridors to allow easy wheelchair access. It will be located 150m from the current polyclinic and will be 21/2 times larger.

The clinics will be built for teamlet care, where patients with complex chronic conditions are looked after by a team of doctors, nurses and care managers.

The nursing home will be next to the new Jurong Polyclinic to allow for synergy and some shared services.

Mr Ang Wei Neng, an MP for Jurong GRC, said Jurong Polyclinic used to be the most crowded in Singapore until Pioneer Polyclinic was opened in 2017 in Jurong West and took some of the load, although it remains crowded.

He added that the new polyclinic will have a more conducive environment.

This is the second nursing home and polyclinic to be co-located.

The first is in Bukit Panjang.

Dr Lam, who visited Jurong Polyclinic yesterday, said: "With the ageing population and increased prevalence of chronic diseases, there is an urgency to strengthen primary care and anchor the management of these conditions within the community."

 
 
 

This is why the Ministry of Health (MOH) is building more polyclinics as well as expanding the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) to cover more people.

Older polyclinics are being renovated, while several new ones are being built.

By 2030, there should be 30 to 32 polyclinics, up from the current 20.

From November, Chas will cover another half a million people - those born between 1950 and 1959, or the Merdeka Generation.

There will also be a new Green card that any Singaporean may apply for. The Chas Green tier is in addition to the existing Chas Orange and Blue cards and gives up to $160 in subsidies a year.

MOH had earlier announced an additional 25 per cent subsidy for services and medication at polyclinics for the Merdeka Generation from November.

Pioneers already enjoy an additional 50 per cent off.

Dr Lam also announced some changes to strengthen Chas, including a cap on the number of visits to a general practitioner (GP) clinic for acute problems.

Patients currently receive subsidies for up to four visits a month to one GP clinic.

But a patient could visit different clinics and receive subsidies up to four times a month at each clinic.

This will change from January next year to a maximum of 24 visits for acute problems a year.

About 99.5 per cent of patients now see GPs for acute problems under Chas fewer than 24 times a year.

Dr Lam said those who need more visits can appeal and subsidies may be extended on a case-by-case basis. However, he added that someone who needs to see a doctor that often may be better off seeing a specialist.

From August, only one member of a household will need to apply for Chas. Once approved, all members will enjoy the same level of subsidy.

Applications for Chas subsidies can be made online the following month.

Tweaks will also be made to dental subsidies from November to align them with best practices.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2019, with the headline 'Bigger polyclinic, new nursing home at Jurong health hub'. Print Edition | Subscribe