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23 Jan 2020

21st Jan 2020

Mr Peter Seah, Chairman, SingHealth

SingHealth Board Members

Professor Ivy Ng, Group Chief Executive Officer, SingHealth

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

1.       A very good afternoon to one and all. I am pleased to be invited to the groundbreaking of the new Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Elective Care Centre (ECC) and the new National Dental Centre.

2.        We have come a long way since the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Campus Masterplan was unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in February 2016. Over these four years, we have started construction of the new National Cancer Centre and the new Emergency Medicine Building in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Just two months ago, we also started operations at the new Outram Community Hospital. The ECC’s construction will mark an important milestone of the SGH Campus Master Plan as it will be the first component of the future SGH complex. When the new SGH complex is fully developed, in the next phase of the SGH Campus Master Plan, SGH would be brought closer to the MRT stations, making it more accessible by public transport to patients as well as visitors.

3.       SGH and the SGH Campus have always played an important role in our public healthcare system. This campus is a major provider of care as it receives patients from all over Singapore. A significant portion of major surgeries is also performed at SGH Campus every day.

4.       Besides patient care, the SGH Campus and the Duke-NUS medical school play an important role in meeting the healthcare education needs of Singapore. Based on the philosophy that it takes an entire team to deliver first class care to patients, SGH has focused its efforts to provide integrated, inter-professional training for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

5.       The new SGH Campus Masterplan, together with the already completed Duke-NUS Medical School, Academia, National Heart Centre Singapore, and Outram Community Hospital, will bring together patient care, education and research as a cohesive healthcare ecosystem, improving care delivery and benefitting patients.

6.        When completed in 2026, the new SGH ECC will house various clinical facilities such as Specialist Outpatient Clinics, Operating Theatres, and inpatient beds to meet Singapore’s increasing healthcare demand. It is expected to perform over 40% of the total volume of SGH surgeries. It will also house the National Dental Centre, Singapore (NDCS) consisting of dental operatories and procedure rooms. In addition, the new SGH ECC building will bring us one step closer to achieving the increased connectivity promised by the SGH Campus Master Plan as it is sited right next to the exit of the North-East MRT Line.

Managing patients holistically to ensure best outcomes

7.      One of the key objectives of Singapore’s healthcare system is to ensure that everyone has access to appropriate care in a timely, cost-effective and seamless manner. As SGH designs and plans for this new facility, I am heartened that SGH is seizing this opportunity to introduce new ways to organise itself and innovate to bring better care and value to patients.

8.        For example, as part of the continual push for improvement, SGH has developed a new care protocol for patients undergoing hip replacement surgery, a commonly scheduled or elective surgery undertaken at SGH. In 2019, 80% of patients who were enrolled in SGH’s pilot enhanced recovery programme after undergoing a total hip replacement, were able to go home on the same day or within 23 hours of their surgery, instead of staying in the hospital for an average of 4 days in 2016. This was made possible due to three key factors –

(i) Introducing an innovative surgical approach which minimises soft tissue trauma and improves functional outcomes;
(ii) Re-organising the way care is delivered to ensure timelier intervention and provision of services; and
(iii) Strengthening post-operative follow up and care systems.

9.      Before the day of surgery, therapists prepare patients in advance on their rehabilitation plans. Patients identified to be suitable for same-day discharge, based on their health and functional status as well as good family support, are then sent to a short-stay ward from which they would be discharged within 24 hours.

10.     A shorter inpatient stay reduces patients’ risk of exposure to hospital-acquired infections. Patients are also allowed to recover in the comfort of their own home. This reduces cost not only for the patients, but also for the overall healthcare system.

11.      The new NDCS will also leverage on new technologies to improve care delivery, such as 3D printing, which will allow for more accurate treatment planning and shorter treatment time. For example, patients requiring dentures will benefit from 3D-printed dentures, as they are faster to fabricate than traditionally-made dentures. The patients can receive their dentures faster and make fewer visits to the dental clinics before they carry out the final fitting. In the event that a patient loses his/her dentures and needs a replacement, it can be easily 3D-printed again using the digitally archived denture design.

12.      Such innovation in care protocol and ways of organising care delivery is key to building a more sustainable healthcare system. I look forward to more of such good work, from SGH and our public healthcare institutions.


13.      In closing, I would like to congratulate SingHealth on the progress it has made on the implementation of the SGH Campus Master Plan. I am confident that when the Master Plan is completed, the SGH Campus will be rejuvenated to be more innovative and more efficient, to better respond to the changing needs of Singaporeans, and to provide the best outcome and experience to the patients and population of Singapore.

Thank you.

Category: Highlights Speeches