SINGAPORE: Starting from July this year, Punggol Polyclinic will pilot a programme with KK Women's and Children's Hospital to improve follow-up care for new mothers, and open the first polyclinic-based eye clinic.
Clinic director Dr David Ng announced this during the official opening of Punggol Polyclinic on Wednesday (May 23).
The pilot programme is especially for new mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus who stand a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later. Under the programme, longer-term care will also be extended to younger children.
It will see a closer hand-over of new mothers from the hospital to Punggol Polyclinic, helping to ensure that women focus not only on their children's health, but also their own after giving birth.
The polyclinic will also work with the hospital to provide closer follow-up for babies up to the first three years, looking out especially for paediatric obesity.
He added that while there is close follow-up for babies when they attend immunisations during the first 18 months of their lives, there is a tendency for young children to fall through the cracks after that.
"We find that some of them, when they enter school-going age they may not be fully prepared. So this is a focus of attention here.
"We're collaborating with KK Women's and Children's Hospital to see how we can improve the follow-up of babies for the first three years of their lives, and ensure they have a good start to their life ahead," said Dr Ng.
This is part of Punggol Polyclinic's focus on women's and children's health services, which caters to the demographic of Punggol residents.
About 11 per cent of its residents are children and were aged four and under in 2017 - the highest proportion of children aged five and below in Singapore.
Since the polyclinic became operational in November, more than 20 per cent of attendance has been for women's and children's health services.
FIRST EYE CLINIC IN A POLYCLINIC
Additionally, in collaboration with the Singapore National Eye Centre, Punggol Polyclinic will house a Community Eye Clinic from Jul 30, the first eye clinic in a polyclinic setting.
The facility will allow patients with stable eye conditions such as early cataract, stable glaucoma, and diabetic eye conditions to seek follow-up care closer to home, saving on their travel time.
Dr Ng said this clinic will ensure the polyclinic will be able evolve and match the needs of its residents as the demographic shifts to an older one over the next 10 years.
OTHER SERVICES ENHANCED WITH TECH
Punggol Polyclinic is also the first SingHealth polyclinic to make use of pharmacy technology Outpatient Pharmacy Automation System (OPAS), which makes use of robotics to improve efficiency, and also improve accuracy in packing medicine to 99.95 per cent.
According to the polyclinic's pharmacy manager Ms Teo Hui Ling, the system is able to pack up to 150 prescriptions in an hour, double the capacity of packing by hand.
Aside from that, the polyclinic also makes use of a 24-hour PILBOX system, which allows patients to collect their medication any time from parcel lockers within the polyclinic.
Patients can also find out more about their medication by scanning QR codes on an adjacent information wall. This includes commonly-needed information such as the proper use of asthma inhalers.
On top of that, the polyclinic is the first to have its own research facility to improve on care delivery and understand patient preferences and attitudes better in the polyclinic.