Speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at the Opening of the NUH Medical Centre, 21 Apr 2014

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, Chairman, NUHS

Professor John Wong, Chief Executive, NUHS and Director, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore

Adjunct Associate Professor Joe Sim, CEO, NUH

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.          It is my pleasure to be here today, for the official opening of the new NUH Medical Centre. I am happy to note that the Medical Centre has started serving patients since July last year.

2.          I would like to congratulate the hospital management and its team for completing the project on time and within budget. This is a significant achievement, considering the building is sited on a technically challenging site, with the Circle Line Kent Ridge MRT station right underneath it.

Building capacity to meet healthcare needs of Singaporeans

3.          This Medical Centre is part of our planned healthcare capacity expansion programme under the Healthcare 2020 Masterplan.

About the NUH Medical Centre

4.          The NUH Medical Centre will expand the capacity of high quality specialist services to meet the needs of our population.  With a total floor area of 72,000 square metres, the 19-storey NUH Medical Centre has close to 400 consultation, treatment and procedure rooms, 10 day surgery operating theatres, 41 day surgery beds, as well as dedicated and purpose-built space for teaching and clinical trials. It is also home to the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore.

Patient-centric designs

5.          Building infrastructure capacity is important, but we must also integrate the care and the design of our healthcare facilities to better serve the needs of our older and less mobile patients. I am glad to say that the NUH Medical Centre has been planned with such needs in mind. 

6.          To begin with, clinical support services have been co-located with the Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs), allowing for better coordinated and integrated care for our patients. This reduces unnecessary patient transfer from one building to another, making it more convenient for the patient. One patient that benefited from this is Mr Patrick Aw, who is turning 50 this year. He told us how pleasantly surprised he was when the Medical Centre opened last year. In his own words, he finds himself in an ‘all-in-one facility’ the moment he steps into the building. In the past, when he had an appointment at the Medicine Clinic and had to do an x-ray, as well as visit the Medical Social Worker and the Dietitian all in one visit, he had to spend time navigating and walking the distances between each of these services. Now, he no longer feels as stressed, as all the facilities he needs to visit are located close to each other, either on the same floor or within the same building. This has made it much easier and more convenient for patients like Mr Aw.

Providing one-stop care and services

7.          This increased convenience has come about from the philosophy of patient-centric care. We can also see this philosophy at work in the design of the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore. Designed as a one stop national centre, it provides care for adult and paediatric oncology patients under one roof. The centre conveniently accommodates surgical, medical and radiation oncology treatments, all at one location. Supportive care services in dietetics, emotional health and cancer rehabilitation, are also housed in the same building to provide patients with convenient and holistic care. An example of this is the Health Resource Centre, where patients and their families can have access to a range of complimentary programmes, ranging from healthy cooking classes that cater to the dietary needs of patients with cancer, talks, support group activities, to counseling.

Fulfilling education and research missions

8.          Finally, to continue to improve the quality of healthcare services, the NUH Medical Centre will play an important role in the training of healthcare professionals and translational research to improve clinical care and outcomes. At the NUH Medical Centre, teaching facilities are embedded in the clinics to allow junior doctors the opportunity to learn, early and first hand, the provision of good, appropriate and compassionate care to the patients they will be treating. 

Conclusion

9.          In the coming years, the healthcare needs of Singaporeans are expected to rise with ageing and more complex conditions. To meet this challenge, we must continuously innovate and find new ways to deliver our care better, and to ensure that Singaporeans continue to have access to quality healthcare. NUH has done well in this aspect, and I encourage you to keep up the good work.

10.      Finally, let me congratulate the NUH once again on the official opening of its new Medical Centre. I am confident the team at NUH will continue to advance medical excellence by integrating clinical care, research and education, to shape medicine for the future.

11.      Thank you.

 

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