New medical centre at Changi General Hospital clusters different specialties to care for complex problems

SINGAPORE – Changi General Hospital’s new medical centre housing 14 specialist clinics and centres was officially opened on Friday (Nov 2).

The centre will better serve its increasingly older patients, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the opening ceremony.

A key feature of the centre is that doctors are organised into teams of different specialties so as to treat patients with complex problems, he added.

The new nine-storey building, which is linked to the main hospital, has a corridor running behind the clinics so the doctors can easily pop over to speak to another specialist.

The way the specialists are clustered also helps.

Mr Gan gave the example of how gastrointestinal surgeons and gastroenterologists are both housed in the Digestive Diseases Centre.

He said: “Patients with particular complex conditions will be able to receive same-day referrals to more than one specialist if necessary.

“Through these efforts, the MSPs (multi-specialty practices) help patients make fewer trips to the hospital while benefiting from more timely, consolidated diagnosis and treatment.”

A CGH spokesman said about 28 per cent of its patients need the care of more than one specialist.

The minister also spoke of the hospital-to-home programme in public hospitals, which has helped more than 20,000 patients since its launch in April 2017.

Under this scheme, healthcare professionals from the hospital work with neighbourhood volunteers to see that the patient’s move back home is smooth and to provide continued care from community partners if needed.

A mock-up of a procedure in the minor procedure room at the newly launched Medical Centre in the Changi General Hospital Campus on Nov 2, 2018. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Mr Gan told the story of patient Tan Ka Chiew, a smoker with lung disease, who was depressed and had financial problems. Previously, he would hope that his illness take a turn for the worse so he could be readmitted to hospital where there would be someone to care for him.

After being put on this scheme, he now takes his medicine as he should, has cut down on his smoking and even does volunteer work as a senior befriender.

The minister said that with the integration of services and the moving of care from hospital to the community, primary care becomes even more important.

As part of this move, he said the Pasir Ris Polyclinic will be redeveloped in the Pasir Ris Integrated Transport Hub. The new place will be more user-friendly with barrier-free access.

He did not say when the new polyclinic will be up.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said the tender for the integrated hub will be awarded next year.

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