Wednesday 28 January 2015

Jurong hospital to open by July 2015

365 beds to be ready first; capacity to be ramped up
By Kash Cheong, The Straits Times, 27 Jan 2015

THE long-awaited 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East will open by July.

The hospital was previously slated to open last December but faced construction delays. It will now open with 365 beds by July, and ramp up capacity progressively to 700 beds.

When the new hospital opens, Alexandra Hospital (AH) in Alexandra Road will be closed for maintenance and renovation works.

The Health Ministry and JurongHealth Services said in a joint press statement yesterday that JurongHealth, which manages both hospitals, will work closely with other public hospitals and polyclinics to minimise disruption to patients.

In the next few months, patients at AH's specialist outpatient clinics will be contacted on details of their care arrangements. Those who prefer to continue their care with JurongHealth can arrange for follow-up appointments at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital when it opens. Patients who prefer to have their appointments nearer to their homes may be referred to other hospitals instead. JurongHealth will help with these arrangements, it said.

Patients can also call the JurongHealth general inquiry line on 6472-2000 for assistance.

Closer to the move, Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulances, which currently take patients to AH, will be diverted to the nearby Singapore General Hospital and National University Hospital. A confirmed date for the transfer of services will be announced later.

By the third quarter, a renovated AH will reopen in phases and it will be operated by a new team from Sengkang Health.

Said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in the press statement: "Going forward, the refurbishing of AH will also help us to modernise some of these ageing facilities, to better serve the health-care needs of residents in the area."

The new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital will open amid a bed crunch in public hospitals, with some hitting occupancy rates of more than 90 per cent. Some hospitals have resorted to housing patients on beds in corridors and borrowing beds from private hospitals to deal with the shortage.

Last December, the Changi General Hospital-St Andrew's Community Hospital Integrated Building opened with 20 new beds, helping to ease the national bed crunch slightly. More beds are in the pipeline as the 280-bed facility is expected to be fully operational by July. Recently, health institutions like Ang Mo Kio Thye Hua Kwan Community Hospital and Ren Ci Community Hospital also added 110 and 120 beds respectively.

Jurong West resident Kasmani Sosman, 61, is looking forward to the opening of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. He takes half an hour by motorbike to see doctors at AH for his heart condition and diabetes. "The new hospital is only 15 minutes away from home. It will be even more convenient."

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