New polyclinics open in Bukit Panjang, Kallang; Eunos Polyclinic to start operations in December
Residents of Tiong Bahru will also get a new, larger polyclinic by 2030.
SINGAPORE: Two new polyclinics in Bukit Panjang and Kallang opened their doors on Saturday (Oct 2), while a third will start operations in Eunos in December, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
Residents living in Tiong Bahru can also expect a new and larger polyclinic by 2030 through the consolidation of the Bukit Merah and Outram polyclinics.
Singapore's polyclinics are taking on an increasingly important role against the backdrop of the country's ageing population and accompanying increase in chronic disease prevalence, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
MOH must shift its focus to upstream preventive and early disease management to reduce downstream health complications, he said at the opening of the new Bukit Panjang Polyclinic on Saturday morning.
"By the time a patient has to visit the hospital, it is usually too late. Therefore, primary care, delivered in the community, must increasingly anchor our healthcare system," said Mr Ong.
With the opening of the three new facilities in 2021, Singapore will have 23 polyclinics. MOH plans to expand this network to 32 polyclinics by 2030, Mr Ong said.
THREE NEW POLYCLINICS
The opening of the three new polyclinics will provide Singaporeans with greater access to a range of affordable and quality primary care services, from treatment for acute conditions to chronic disease management, said MOH in a press release.
They are also integrated with other healthcare facilities, providing an opportunity for "joint programming and collaborations that offer holistic care and improve health outcomes", said the ministry.
Bukit Panjang Polyclinic, located at Woodlands Road and operated by National University Polyclinics, is Singapore's first polyclinic to be co-located with a nursing home and senior care centre, said MOH.
Senja Care Home and Vanguard Senior Care are operated by Vanguard Healthcare, and collectively offer residential care, day care, community rehabilitation and physiotherapy services.
The eldercare facilities, with a capacity of 365 beds and 60 day care places, started operations in August.
Kallang Polyclinic at Serangoon Road, operated by National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, is co-located with Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital's long-term care facility and has a capacity of 128 beds for chronic sick patients.
Such patients have advanced and complicated chronic medical conditions requiring long-term nursing and frequent medical care, said MOH.
The long-term care facility will start operations early this month.
Eunos Polyclinic is co-located with a senior care centre with 60 day care places, operated by Methodist Welfare Services, and is expected to open in mid-December. The polyclinic at Chin Cheng Avenue will be operated by SingHealth Polyclinics.
The three polyclinics were originally slated to open at the end of 2020, but their completion dates were pushed back due to the impact of COVID-19 on Singapore's construction industry.
TIONG BAHRU POLYCLINIC
MOH will also consolidate Bukit Merah and Outram polyclinics into a new and larger Tiong Bahru Polyclinic by 2030, as part of efforts to refresh polyclinic infrastructure to meet residents' evolving healthcare needs.
The new polyclinic will be more spacious, with elderly-friendly and accessibility features. It will provide "holistic and seamless" primary care services for residents in the region, said the ministry.
The existing Bukit Merah and Outram polyclinics will continue to serve the residents until the new polyclinic in Tiong Bahru opens.
INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENTS, NEW MODELS OF CARE
Over the next nine years, MOH aims to open another nine polyclinics in integrated developments that are co-located with other healthcare or community facilities, said the Health Minister.
Citing Sembawang Polyclinic as an example, Mr Ong said it is part of an upcoming community hub called Bukit Canberra, and will be co-located with sports facilities such as swimming pools, a gym and an indoor sport hall, as well as a park and a hawker centre.
Polyclinics will also progressively implement new models of care, said the Health Minister.
"For instance, polyclinics have introduced team-based care models where chronic patients would be managed by regular, multi-disciplinary care teams," Mr Ong said.
"By allowing the same care team to attend to the patient, there is continuity and, more importantly, it builds relationship and trust between patients and their care team."
Polyclinics have also accelerated the roll-out of telehealth services to improve patients' access to care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mr Ong.
He said these services range from tele-consultations to remote vital signs monitoring.
Work on new polyclinics in Sembawang, Kaki Bukit, Khatib, Serangoon, Tampines North, Tengah, Yew Tee, Bidadari and Bishan is ongoing, said MOH.