Sunday, 7 February 2016

Singapore General Hospital campus to get makeover under 20-year masterplan

Singapore General Hospital to get more space, facilities in big makeover
New campus, to be built over 20 years, will triple amount of space devoted to patient care
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Straits Times, 6 Feb 2016

Some 200 years after it was born, Singapore's oldest and largest hospital is poised to become much larger and better equipped.

After the makeover, to take place over 20 years, the amount of space devoted to patient care at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) campus, which includes five speciality centres, will triple.

The hospital itself will shift to another site nearby at the junction of Outram Road and Eu Tong Sen Street within the larger Outram campus, according to the masterplan unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

The high-patient volume services will be just a short walk away from the Outram Park MRT station.

"We have to do a musical chairs exercise," said Mr Lee. "Keep a very busy hospital running while shifting roads and buildings around."

By the time the masterplan is completed, almost 50 years would have passed since SGH's last redevelopment in 1981, said Mr Lee.

The hospital, along with its five speciality centres and polyclinic, already cares for a third of all patients in the country.

The coming decade will see four new buildings taking shape: the 550-bed Outram Community Hospital, National Cancer Centre, an interim emergency department, and part of the new bigger SGH.

Mr Lee pointed out that the new SGH campus will target areas where most demand is expected.

Cancer is high on this list, so the tallest building on the campus will be the new 20-storey National Cancer Centre. Mr Lee said it will have a lot more space than the current centre as demand for cancer care is expected to grow, as better treatment means longer lives for patients who will need follow-up care.

One of the hospital's busiest departments, Accident and Emergency, cannot wait for the new SGH and will require a new interim building to cope with rising demand.

The department handled more than 135,000 patients last year and this number is likely to grow.

An elective care centre for non-emergency treatments - complete with operating theatres, specialist outpatient clinics and wards - will form the cornerstone of the new SGH complex.

These new facilities will be designed to be more patient-centric.

In the next phase, several current buildings will make way for the new SGH complex, which should be ready in about 20 years' time.

Mr Lee said that to better understand diseases that affect Singaporeans, medical care, research and education will go hand in hand. The campus will house a research park for firms that work with healthcare providers, and an education zone where Duke-NUS Medical School is sited.

The campus will meet 40 per cent of healthcare training needs, said Mr Lee. It will train doctors, nurses and other hospital staff together as part of "integrated training".

Professor Ivy Ng, group chief executive officer of SingHealth, said the masterplan caters to both current and anticipated needs.

As Singapore's first hospital, Singapore General Hospital has a special place in Singaporeans' hearts. The current...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday, February 4, 2016

Patient-focused, integrated healthcare
Masterplan to redevelop SGH campus driven by model of care combining best in facilities and technology and integrating care
By Salma Khalik, Senior Health Correspondent, The Straits Times, 6 Feb 2016

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.

WATCH: Have a behind-the-scenes look at the Official Launch of #SGHCampusMasterplan by PM Lee Hsien Loong this morning....
Posted by Singapore General Hospital on Friday, February 5, 2016

Room for heritage as SGH undergoes revamp
Buildings such as the century-old Bowyer Block will be conserved amid plans to redevelop SGH
By Salma Khalik, The Straits Times, 6 Feb 2016

The next 20 years will see the Outram Campus, which includes the country's oldest hospital Singapore General Hospital (SGH), undergo a massive transformation. But there will still be room for history.

Buildings such as the 100-year-old Bowyer Block and clock tower, and the Mistri wing will be preserved, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday as he traced SGH's roots, which began in a wooden shed by the Singapore River in 1821. It moved to its current location in 1882, on a hill near the Sepoy Lines.

"Sepoys were Indian soldiers in the British Raj and there used to be a road here called the Sepoy Lines," he explained.

"That's why to this day, many older Singaporeans still call this place 'See Pai Po' which is the Hokkien rendering of Sepoy Lines."

The place was also where the Sepoys' camp or cantonment was located, hence the nearby Cantonment Road, he added.

In 1905, Singapore's first medical school, the King Edward VII College of Medicine, was established there.

Today, it is known as the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, and is part of the National University of Singapore at Kent Ridge.

The hospital used to have open wards linked by long corridors with colours painted on the ground to help patients, many of whom were illiterate, find their way.

Some things have not changed over the decades. "The only trouble (then) is you are looking down and following the line and if you are not careful you will bump into something. Today, you look down into your iPhone as you walk along following your app and you have the same problem," said Mr Lee, to much laughter from an audience largely of senior doctors.

But a lot is also different now.

The Outram Campus as it currently stands was developed in the 1970s and completed in 1981. He said: "I remember when Mr Lee Kuan Yew opened it, we were all impressed by the facilities and buildings. It was a quantum change from what the old hospital used to be."

That was 35 years ago and medicine has changed enormously since. The new plans to redevelop the SGH campus have been long awaited by many.

But not everything will go.

Mr Lee promised: "While we upgrade, we will where possible also preserve or re-purpose some of our old buildings to remind us of our heritage."

This includes the Bowyer Block and clock tower, which commemorate those who have given their lives to public healthcare, in particular Dr John Bowyer - a former chief medical officer who died during the war. It is the only remaining structure from 1926, and now houses the SGH Museum and some outpatient services.

The Mistri wing, now home to the Diabetes and Metabolism Centre, is another building set for preservation. It was donated by Mr Navroji Mistri who had a passion for helping the poor.

He was a Parsi who made his fortune selling soda water in Singapore. In 1952, he donated $950,000 to build a ward for poor patients.

Said Mr Lee: "(It) reminds us of how we can help the vulnerable and needy amongst us, through our own efforts."

Today marks the Official Launch of our #SGHCampusMasterplan. We are delighted to have Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as...
Posted by Singapore General Hospital on Friday, February 5, 2016

The Singapore General Hospital has been serving the healthcare needs of our country since its founding in 1821 as a...
Posted by Ministry of Health on Friday, February 5, 2016

* SGH to get new 12-storey A&E building, expected to be completed in 2023
By Ilyda Chua, The Straits Times, 4 Apr 2018

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is expanding its accident and emergency (A&E) facilities to meet demand.

A 12-storey emergency medicine building, expected to be completed in 2023, will replace the hospital's existing A&E facilities and boast about four times the space of the existing emergency facilities.

Revealing details about the development at the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday, SGH chief executive Kenneth Kwek said the building will double the number of beds in the existing Acute Medical Unit.

There are 67 beds in the current unit, which serves patients admitted from the Emergency Department.

The new building will be connected to the main hospital complex as well as speciality centres such as the upcoming Outram Community Hospital.

This will allow patients to benefit from a wider range of facilities and the pooled expertise of healthcare staff. It will also reduce patient transfer time.

Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said at yesterday's ceremony: "The new emergency medicine building will also include isolation rooms and an expanded hospital decontamination station, enhancing SGH's ability to handle disease outbreaks and mass casualty incidents, where there may be patients exposed to hazardous materials."

Demand for emergency care is increasing, especially among people over the age of 65. Last year, they made up a third of emergency patients, up from a quarter a decade earlier.

The existing A&E building, which was built 40 years ago, serves between 300 and 400 patients a day, according to Ministry of Health statistics. The building may be repurposed to house clinical facilities, such as intensive care units, Professor Kwek said.

Members of the public hope that there will be greater efficiency and shorter waiting times when the new building is up and running.

Analyst Nur Liyana, 34, who has been a patient at the current A&E, said the current operation is "better than the A&Es in other hospitals", but added: "The waiting time to see a doctor is still a killer."

Ms Cynthia Lim agreed that the expansion is necessary, especially with the growing number of elderly people in Singapore.

She recalled an incident when she accompanied her late grandmother, who had suffered a fall, to the A&E.

"The experience wasn't too bad, but it did take a while for us to be attended to. And for somebody in pain, it is torturous," said the 23-year-old.

Undergraduate Jane Lim, 22, who took her mother to SGH after she suffered breathing problems, called the new building "a good start".

"The A&E is often really cramped. But even with the facilities and equipment, what we really need are more doctors."

Dr Kenneth Tan, a consultant at SGH's Department of Emergency Medicine, said bringing more specialists together will help.

"With neuroscience and heart specialists all under one roof, we will be able to further enhance treatment and provide faster access to care for stroke and heart attack patients," he said.

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