Sunday, 31 August 2014

Changi General Hospital to get one-stop medical centre

Slated for 2017, it will handle patients with multiple medical conditions
By Janice Tai, The Straits Times, 30 Aug 2014

PATIENTS at Changi General Hospital (CGH) with many medical conditions will have it easier when CGH opens a new one-stop medical centre in 2017.

Instead of having different appointments and going from clinic to clinic, patients will be able to make fewer hospital visits and head to just one place when they do so. The new $220 million, nine-storey centre located next to the main CGH building will house specialist outpatient clinics and about 140 consultation rooms. It is expected to host 400,000 patient visits a year.

Patients who have various ailments, for example diabetes sufferers who also have kidney or heart problems, will go under the care of one main doctor at the centre. This doctor will work with other doctors and nurses involved in treating the patient for different conditions, to come up with just one care plan for the patient.

"It is increasingly common for patients to suffer from not just one but multiple conditions, for which they need to consult several doctors," said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a ceremony yesterday where plans for the centre were announced. "Each doctor may prescribe a different care plan and this can confuse patients and affect how they receive treatment and the outcome," he said.

The chief executive of CGH, Dr Lee Chien Earn, said the hospital planned this centre because it is seeing more patients with multiple conditions. Last year, CGH saw 13,500 such patients, up from 11,900 the year before.

Mr Hey Bong Koi, 66, who sees various specialists at another hospital for ailments such as heart problems, stomach inflammation and asthma, said such a centre will be helpful.

"When a health problem crops up, I don't know which specialist to see and sometimes I forget to tell this doctor about a new medication that another doctor put me on, and this is dangerous because the different medications may be incompatible," said the retiree.

At the CGH event, Mr Gan said even as the country builds more hospitals and medical centres, it is also important to ramp up primary care facilities such as polyclinics so that Singaporeans can get a broader range of care.

Earlier this year, his ministry announced plans to build four more polyclinics by 2020.

Mr Gan yesterday announced the locations of two of them, which will be ready in three years. Pioneer Polyclinic will be next to Jurong West Primary School and Punggol Polyclinic will be located just outside Oasis LRT station.

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