New Sengkang hospitals to provide specialised care in the heartland

Rachelle Nathalie Mouret, eight, trying the grasper, a device used in the treatment of cancer, with her mother Daphnie Mouret, 43, at the Community Health Fair at Compass One yesterday. The fair is organised by Sengkang Health to raise awareness abou
Rachelle Nathalie Mouret, eight, trying the grasper, a device used in the treatment of cancer, with her mother Daphnie Mouret, 43, at the Community Health Fair at Compass One yesterday. The fair is organised by Sengkang Health to raise awareness about conditions such as dementia and cancer.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
An artist's impression of the upcoming hospitals in Sengkang.
An artist's impression of the upcoming hospitals in Sengkang. PHOTO: SENGKANG HEALTH

Upcoming Sengkang hospitals will work with national heart and eye centres to offer services

Sengkang General Hospital and Sengkang Community Hospital will open in the latter half of next year, taking specialised medical treatments to the heartland.

When fully opened, the two hospitals will also add 1,400 beds to meet the healthcare needs of the Republic's ageing population, amid a bed crunch here.

The hospitals will be collaborating with the National Heart Centre and Singapore National Eye Centre, both located at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in Outram Road, to provide specialised services for eye and heart conditions such as cataracts and heart disease.

Professor Christopher Cheng, chief executive of Sengkang Health, said: "If repetitive visits to the hospital are required for certain conditions, instead of going 20km to Outram campus, patients can just walk over or take the LRT to visit us."

Medical staff from the national centres will be the ones running the specialist clinics at the Sengkang hospitals.

"Patients (at the Sengkang hospitals) get the same level of specialised care they would expect in the national centres because they are run by the same people," Prof Cheng said.

"It is same people, same level of expertise, but closer to home."

  • Key features of Sengkang hospitals

  • HEART AND EYE SPECIALIST CLINICS

    The Sengkang General and Community hospitals will be collaborating with the National Heart Centre and Singapore National Eye Centre to offer specialist services on the hospitals' campus. The clinics will be run by staff from the national centres.

    HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY

    The hospitals are working with intermediate and long-term care partners, such as nursing homes, to offer consultations remotely through video conferencing. Telehealth will also be used for rehabilitation, allowing discharged patients to continue rehab exercises at home, with a therapist's support.

    PRIMARY CARE NETWORK

    The hospitals' team has been working with general practitioners in the north-east to offer health screening and manage patients with stable chronic illnesses. The GPs and their patients will have direct access to the hospitals' services and facilities.

The hospitals also have other specialist clinics for neurology, psychiatry and urology, for example.

Prof Cheng was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Community Health Fair at Compass One mall in Sengkang, organised by Sengkang Health to raise awareness about health conditions such as dementia and cancer, and other health matters.

He said the construction of the hospitals - located next to Cheng Lim LRT station and diagonally across from Sengkang MRT station - is progressing smoothly and is on track.

"We have spent countless hours poring over the plans to ensure that the services will be smooth and seamless," he added.

The news was welcomed by Mr Bryan Chee, 55, who is looking forward to the specialist clinics the most.

The teacher, a Sengkang resident, regularly takes his in-laws, who are in their 80s, for check-ups at the eye centre at SGH.

"Parking can be a problem... It will be much more convenient if we can go to the Sengkang hospitals. Maybe I will need to take only half-day leave then," he said.

The hospitals will also be leveraging telehealth technologies to better support community care.

For instance, rehabilitative help will be provided remotely, through video conferencing, so that discharged patients can do rehab exercises at home, with the support of a hospital therapist.

They are also working closely with general practitioners in the north-east to provide health screening, and help for chronic diseases.

Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min, who was the guest of honour at the launch, said the Health Ministry will provide funding support to patients managed under such primary care networks, and stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

"As much as possible, we want to move upstream in our efforts to ensure everyone stays healthy so that they do not have to visit the clinic or hospital in the first place," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 04, 2017, with the headline 'Specialised care in the heartland'. Print Edition | Subscribe