The future of healthcare in Singapore will be patient-centric, combining the best in facilities and technology and integrating different levels of care from hospital to home, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
This model of care forms the basis for the masterplan to redevelop the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) campus over the next 20 years.
PM Lee, who unveiled the plan yesterday, said: "The masterplan will transform SGH and help us serve patients better in three ways.
"First, by delivering better care. Second, by developing stronger capabilities in healthcare. Third, by making it easier for patients to get around the campus."
The entire building process will take 15 to 20 years and will be a "musical chairs exercise", he said, since the busy hospital must continue serving patients while "shifting buildings and roads around".
The SGH campus will be part of the larger Outram campus, which will include an education zone helmed by the Duke-NUS Medical School and a research park for health-related companies.
Mr Lee said this will develop stronger capabilities by integrating medical care, research and education.
When completed, the SGH campus will be triple its current size.
He said more space will be given to areas where demand will be high, such as cancer treatment.
The new cancer building, standing more than 20 storeys high, will be the tallest on the campus.
Explaining the need for so much space, PM Lee said cancer is "one of those illnesses that many, even most, of us will get, sometimes more than once in our lifetime".
But with better care, patients live longer with cancer becoming a chronic rather than acute disease.
However, this means they will need continuing care, resulting in more patients for cancer doctors.
Expanding on this, Professor Ivy Ng, group chief executive officer of SingHealth, said research at the National Cancer Centre had led to the world's first clinical trial on humans of a novel cancer vaccine. This could lead to better treatment for patients with colorectal, lung, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers.
Mr Lee said the layout of the new buildings will also be able to bring together different aspects of care for the same patient.
He gave the example of a diabetic patient who needs to check his eyes, limbs, blood and kidney function, and now needs to go from one clinic to another. He said: "So rather than have the patient going to different departments, the design of the buildings and the operations of the hospitals will aim to be more patient-centric, bringing together the care of the patient at one place as far as possible."
Prof Ng said that aside from diabetes, there are five other disease centres for head and neck, breast, lung and blood cancers and liver transplant. "Work is under way to set up more centres over the next few years," she said.
And when the Outram Community Hospital opens in 2020, patients can look forward to quicker recovery as it will allow for integrating early rehabilitation, said Prof Ng.