Speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at Groundbuilding Ceremony for Changi General Hospital Medical Centre, 29 Aug 2014

Mr Gerard Ee,
Chairman of the Eastern Health Alliance

Mr. T K Udairam,
Group CEO of the Eastern Health Alliance

Dr. Lee Chien Earn,
CEO of Changi General Hospital

Professor Teo Eng Kiong,
Chairman of the Medical Board of Changi General Hospital

Healthcare Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

1.    It is my pleasure to join you today at this very special "Ground-Building" event for the CGH Medical Centre. Today's event marks the start of the next stage of CGH’s exciting developmental journey, and a step towards realising the Healthcare 2020 Masterplan to enhance accessibility, quality and affordability of healthcare for all Singaporeans.

Meeting Singaporean’s healthcare needs through Healthcare 2020

2.     Singapore’s healthcare needs are not only growing but also becoming increasingly more complex as our population ages.

3.     Under our Healthcare 2020 plan, we are increasing capacity across all settings –we will build more acute hospitals, community hospitals, aged care facilities and primary care facilities.

4.     In parallel, we need to also transform care models and integrate care for patients across settings, so that the delivery of healthcare can be more effective, appropriate and patient-centric.

Transforming delivery of care

Care with a personalised touch

5.     This new CGH Medical Centre is a good example. It will add new capacity for specialty care and house more than 130 consultation rooms. It will also provide specialist outpatient care for complex medical conditions, such as gastroenterology, ENT, endocrinology and general surgery, just to name a few.

6.     The new Medical Centre is also designed with a view to transform the way outpatient specialist care is provided to patients. It is increasingly common for patients to suffer from not just one, but multiple conditions, for which they need to consult several doctors. Each doctor may prescribe a different care plan. This can confuse patients and affect how they receive treatment and the outcome. The new CGH Medical Centre hopes to reduce  confusion through facilitating multi-specialty consultation, which also provides greater convenience for the patients. The primary doctor will collaborate with an integrated care team made up of multiple specialists, nurses and allied health professionals to come up with an integrated care plan tailored to the patient’s specific healthcare needs.

Redesigning processes and protocols

7.     This new Medical Centre will include minor surgery rooms that are able to handle simple procedures, freeing up capacity of operating theatres in the acute hospital for more complex procedures. Certain tests that are presently done as inpatient procedures, such as the four-hour long salt loading test for endocrine patients, can be conducted here at the Medical Centre. This would, in turn, save time and possibly save costs for our patients.

Other new facilities

8.     Beyond the physical design of the clinics, I am also pleased to note that there will be a dedicated CGH Training Wing within the Medical Centre. This would further enhance CGH’s teaching and training capabilities for doctors, nurses, allied health and other healthcare professionals to grow the healthcare workforce for the future.

9.    When the Medical Centre is fully operational, CGH will continue to improve and expand its existing acute medical facilities through the remodelling of the CGH Main Building, which has started since 2011. Together with the Integrated Building that will be opening progressively from the end of this year, the CGH Medical Centre and remodelling of the main building will significantly enhance CGH's capability and capacity to meet the needs of the population in the eastern region.

Building a patient-centric health ecosystem

10.  The spirit of redesigning, innovating and transforming Care delivery goes beyond the CGH campus.

11. CGH, together with its parent cluster, the Eastern Health Alliance, have worked with partners from the primary care, acute care and step-down care sectors to deliver integrated healthcare services to improve patient outcomes. One key innovation that CGH has worked on with community partners is the Health Management Unit, which provides tele-care for chronic disease patients after their discharge. Since the inception of the Health Management Unit in 2011, it has helped nearly 3,500 patients to better manage their condition. It has also further expanded its scope of services from diabetes to include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure.

12. The GPFirst programme, launched by CGH early this year in close collaboration with the GPs around the eastern region, has also helped to reduce unnecessary visits to the hospital’s A&E department, thereby reducing waiting time for patients. The programme, which encourages patients to see their GPs for mild to moderate medical conditions instead of heading straight to the A&E, has resulted in a reduction of about 12 per cent in self-referrals to the CGH A&E. This has allowed CGH to optimise its resources for sicker patients. This is a testament to how critical it is to improve primary care to complement the care provided by our hospitals. 

Building up the Primary Care Sector

13.  While we are building more acute care facilities, we are also ramping up our primary care facilities and will develop more polyclinics to complement the coverage provided by the existing polyclinics and private clinics. 

14.  Two new polyclinics in Pioneer and Punggol will be developed by 2017. Pioneer polyclinic will be located next to Jurong West Primary School, and Punggol polyclinic will be located just outside Oasis LRT station. Residents in these areas can look forward to these new healthcare facilities, which will also help manage the patients’ chronic diseases. The new polyclinics will offer a wider range of allied health services than that offered at existing polyclinics, including physiotherapy and podiatry. In addition, we are redeveloping the polyclinics in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok. By 2020, we plan to build four more new polyclinics.

15.  Polyclinics and GPs will complement each other to provide good primary care to Singaporeans, even as we build more hospitals and medical centres. By leveraging on each other’s strengths, we will build a vibrant ecosystem that promotes health and enables seamless holistic care.

Conclusion

16.  I congratulate CGH on the “ground-building” of the CGH Medical Centre today. The new Medical Centre here at CGH will be a further step to strengthen the suite of healthcare services and facilities to support an ageing population in eastern Singapore. I am confident that it will bring more and better healthcare to Singaporeans living in the region.

17.  Thank you.

 

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