Monday, 12 October 2015

Crucial to 'keep getting healthcare right': PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Opening of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital & Jurong Community Hospital

It's not just about expanding health facilities, Singaporeans can help support system too: PM
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 11 Oct 2015

With the number of patients rising steadily as the country ages, Singapore will need to expand current facilities and get new hospitals.

But these are just part of the equation in ensuring that people continue to enjoy one of the best healthcare systems in the world, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday. It is also important to "keep on getting the system right".

And this is going to be hard.

With better protection through MediShield Life and schemes such as the Pioneer Generation Package for seniors and the Community Health Assist Scheme for middle- and lower-income families, patients and doctors have less to worry about when it comes to healthcare costs.

That means there is "greater incentive to overuse healthcare services".

"We have to make sure that patients don't overuse resources and doctors don't over-treat patients," said PM Lee, who also urged Singaporeans to be proactive in leading healthy lives.

"Ultimately, Singaporeans must be willing to support the system and support the Government when it tries to keep the system efficient, accessible and sustainable."

He was speaking at the official opening of the 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East yesterday. Mr Lee said Sengkang and Woodlands general hospitals and Yishun, Sengkang, Outram and Woodlands community hospitals will open over the next seven years.

These facilities will be needed to cope with the rapidly ageing population.

The number of people aged 65 years and older for every 100 working adults went up from 12 in 2005 to 13 in 2010. The Prime Minister said those numbers were manageable until 2010, when they started to increase very rapidly.

Today, it is 18 people aged 65 years and older for every 100 working adults, he went on, adding that rising healthcare costs are "one of the major reasons why our Budget spending will grow over the years".

Aside from hospitals, various areas of care such as primary and nursing care are also being ramped up.

This way, he said, "the patient gets appropriate treatment in the right place. And the system as a whole delivers better care for the patient, in a cost-effective way".

Mr Lee also spoke about how people need to take their medical conditions seriously. He highlighted how a third of people who go for a health screening find out about a medical condition, but many fail to follow up on it.

"It's really wasted effort," he said. "And you are sitting on something that will cause you a lot of trouble later.

"The best thing you can do is to take care of yourself and keep healthy, because that will give you the best quality of life."

Ho Ching and I were at the opening of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) and Jurong Community Hospital (JCH)...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, October 10, 2015

Learn from Hepatitis C experience: PM
By Salma Khalik, The Sunday Times, 11 Oct 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressed that the health authorities need to put things right when something goes wrong, learn from the experience and improve.

Referring to the recent hepatitis C infections at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), he added: "We also always have to be open and transparent with the public and with the patients about what has happened, because we must maintain public confidence and trust in the healthcare system."

SGH had found out that 22 renal patients from one of its wards had the viral infection, which was likely picked up between April and June. Eight of the patients have died. As many as five of the deaths could be linked to the infection.

SGH, which notified the Ministry of Health (MOH) of the matter in late August, is in the midst of screening 678 patients who were in its renal wards between January and June this year, as well as 273 staff who were working there.

MOH is still investigating the case. It has also launched a separate independent investigation.

Speaking at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital yesterday, PM Lee said there is a need to "establish what happened, learn from the experience to improve and do better in future".

"When something like this happens our approach must always be first to put things right, find out what's wrong and to put things right, to safeguard the health and well-being of patients. I can't say yet what has happened, how it happened. But I can tell you that is the approach the MOH is taking and which we will take for any similar cases in the future."

Operations never stop in a hospital. It’s 24/7 – round the clock. We have settled in well and are happy to be part of the neighbourhood in the west. Aways operationally ready, for you and with you #NTFGH and #JCH.
Posted by JurongHealth on Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ng Teng Fong hospital opening ahead of schedule
Officially opened by PM Lee yesterday, 500 of its 700 beds are already in use
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Sunday Times, 11 Oct 2015

The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East has put more wards into use ahead of schedule, but is still facing high occupancy rates of 80 per cent.

The hospital, which took in its first patient on June 30, started operating with 365 beds. Today, 500 of its 700 beds are in use.

The hospital's chief executive officer, Mr Foo Hee Jug, said: "We are indeed opening ahead of schedule. We found that we were operationally ready and would like to add to the national capacity as soon as possible."

He plans to open one more ward of 64 beds by year end, and will need to recruit more doctors and senior nurses.

At the official opening of the hospital by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, Mr Foo rattled off some impressive figures. In just 102 days, the hospital has treated 31,000 patients at its clinics, 6,300 patients in its wards, and 19,000 patients at its emergency department.

But he stressed the need to work closely with doctors, grassroots leaders and others to keep people in the region healthy.

The Prime Minister, who spent about two hours touring the hospital and the adjoining 400-bed Jurong Community Hospital, said these new hospitals were developed with patients in mind.

The fan-shaped wards provide windows for every patient, no matter which class of ward they are in.

Said PM Lee: "It gives them lots of natural light, greenery outside, at least when there is no haze, and every patient with good ventilation, good views. Lift your spirits, recover faster."

To patients, the two hospitals operate as one. A patient who has surgery in the general hospital and recovers in the community hospital will get just one bill for his stay.

Mr Foo said the integrated development gives economies of scale, with both hospitals sharing one kitchen, one management team and electronic medical records.

The hospitals are eco-friendly, using 40 per cent less potable water than a conventional hospital, and the 550 solar panels completely take care of their hot water and landscape lighting needs.

One patient who gave two thumbs-up to the hospital is Mr Mohamad Salleh Arshad, 56, a diabetic. When he was told he needed to have his right leg amputated, he told the doctors he would rather die.

But they convinced him that life is what he makes of it. "They are so caring. The doctors, the nurses, they are so good to me," he said.

Yesterday, he sang English and Hokkien songs and had the VIPs, including PM Lee and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, cheering him on.

10.10.15 marks the Official Opening of #NTFGH and #JCH. We are a very happy bunch today! We celebrated this special...
Posted by JurongHealth on Saturday, October 10, 2015

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