Monday 17 February 2014

New Woodlands hospital to open in phases from 2022

Woodlands hospital to showcase new ideas
Khaw wants integrated health-care complex to be connected with homes and nature
By Amelia Tan, The Sunday Times, 16 Feb 2014

A new integrated health-care complex coming up in Woodlands promises to be like no hospital seen so far in Singapore.

There are no architect's designs or artist's impressions, but National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan's brief for the planners is to break new ground, make it different and connect it with homes and nature.

Altogether, there will be up to 1,800 beds in a general hospital, community hospital and nursing home due to open in phases from 2022, he said at a community event yesterday at Woodlands Civic Centre.

The complex will be built on a 7.7ha site along Woodlands Avenue 12 and Woodlands Drive 17, opposite Christ Church Secondary School, and within walking distance from the future Woodlands South MRT station.

It will be the first of four new general hospitals to be built between 2020 and 2030. Coming up sooner are Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong, which will open by December, and one general hospital and one community hospital in Sengkang - due to be ready by 2018.

Mr Khaw has set broad targets for the Woodlands project, saying he wants it connected to nearby facilities such as parks and park connectors, and to be involved in community health programmes.

An idea he tossed up is for staff of the new hospital to work with residents to expand and improve community gardening projects popular in Woodlands. This will help to promote health and forge bonds within the community, said Mr Khaw, an MP for Sembawang GRC where the new complex will be built.

Alexandra Health System has the job of turning his suggestions into reality. The health-care group has already drawn kudos for a host of innovations at Yishun's Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, including a programme that sends nurses to patients' homes to keep them from checking into hospital too often, keep-clean and eat-healthy campaigns as well as landscaping that attracts numerous birds.

Mr Khaw wants the team to outdo itself in Woodlands. He suggested that they visit Japan and countries in Scandinavia to learn how they care for the elderly.

"I do not want this to be just more of the same. Another hospital, another community hospital or another nursing home. Think and plan long-term," he said.

He pledged to mobilise grassroots leaders in Sembawang GRC and statutory boards under the Ministry of National Development to make the project a success.

Mr Liak Teng Lit, head of Alexandra Health, said his team will have more freedom in designing the new complex because it will be built from scratch on an empty plot with no adjacent buildings.

His team already knows it wants the complex to be accessible and green. Some ideas include connecting buildings within the complex to the surrounding Housing Board estates as well as parks and the new MRT station so that residents can walk or cycle there.

Residents said the new hospital will make it more convenient for them to seek medical treatment.

Housewife Yow It Yang, 66, who visits a specialist in the city every four months for high blood pressure, said: "It takes an hour to travel to Gleneagles. But the new hospital will be about 15 minutes from my home. I can cut down on travelling time to see a doctor."

Yesterday's community event saw children doing sand artworks and being entertained by a pineapple mascot, a symbol for Sembawang GRC which used to have pineapple farms.

New hospitals in the pipeline

The Straits Times, 15 Feb 2014

The new Woodlands General Hospital is just one of several which will be built in the coming years, in anticipation of an expected rise in demand from an ageing population. Other general and community hospitals coming up include:


-The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong will open with 500 beds by December. Another 200 will be available in its community hospital section.

- There will be a window by each bed in every ward at the general hospital to improve privacy and ventilation. The intensive care unit is also connected to an outdoor terrace. The hospital is near Jurong East MRT and Jurong East Bus Interchange.


- Jurong Community Hospital and Yishun Community Hospital will open.


- The Sengkang General and Sengkang Community hospitals will be ready.

- Located at the junction of Sengkang East Road and Sengkang East Way, the hospital complex sits on 6.9ha of land near public housing and will be linked to the Cheng Lim LRT station.

- It will comprise a 1,000-bed general hospital and a 400-bed community hospital. They include 200 “swing beds” which could be used by either hospital.


- The Outram Community Hospital will be ready


- Four new general hospitals will be built. The Woodlands General Hospital is one of them. The locations of the other three have not been identified.

Community hospital to be built on former nursing school site at SGH

By Vimita Mohandas, Channel NewsAsia, 12 Feb 2014

The former School of Nursing, located at the Singapore General Hospital campus, will be demolished in July to make way for a new community hospital.

More than 600 nurses and their former tutors gathered for its closing ceremony on Wednesday.

It was a walk down memory lane for the nurses as they toured an exhibition of medical equipment used in the 1950s for wound dressing, infant feeding and urine testing.

For some of the nurses, discipline was a core value they learnt in school.

Karen Perera, assistant director of nursing at Singapore General Hospital, said: "They were really strict and disciplined right down to our uniform, our shoes and socks. So it is a very sad feeling and yet it is a progression for healthcare as we have to make way for a hospital."

Chey Boon Tiang, senior nurse manager at Singapore General Hospital, said: "Nursing was very strict. The uniform has to be well starched and your shoes have to be very white and your hair has to be combed back too."

In tandem with the government's move to formalise nursing education under the Education Ministry, the school stopped functioning when Nanyang Polytechnic rolled out its diploma programme in 1992. In 2006, Ngee Ann Polytechnic started its nursing diploma programme as well. About 1,000 diploma-trained nurses graduate from both schools each year.

Training for nurses has grown by leap and bounds, with close to 40 per cent of registered nurses now holding a degree, master's degree or PhD qualification.

To draw more into the industry, a National Nursing Taskforce was set up to redesign and enhance nursing.

But the challenge of recruiting locals remains and the taskforce will look into changing the perception of nurses.

Dr Tracy Carol Ayre, group director of nursing at Singapore General Hospital, said: "Although public perception has changed over time, it needs to change even further to show them what other roles nurses can perform.

"We are usually seen in the traditional care and touch but they don't see the technical and thinking aspects that go on in nursing."

The taskforce will also enhance post-registration nursing education to enable nurses to manage diverse patient care needs.


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