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Building of several public healthcare facilities delayed due to COVID-19: Gan Kim Yong

Building of several public healthcare facilities delayed due to COVID-19: Gan Kim Yong

The 1,800-bed Woodlands Health Campus is exploring the use of technology to facilitate patient care. (Image: Woodlands Health Campus)

SINGAPORE: The completion date of several public healthcare facilities will be pushed back due to the impact of COVID-19 on Singapore’s construction industry, said Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong in a written parliamentary response on Monday (Oct 5).

"These delays in the completion of our public healthcare infrastructure projects may have an impact on overall healthcare capacity in the short term," said Mr Gan. 

"MOH (Ministry of Health) is thus exploring other measures to expand capacity within our existing facilities, and to reduce the demand on our public healthcare institutions," he added, citing telemedicine and community-based care options as examples.

Mr Gan was responding to questions by Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiat, who asked about the progress on developing Woodlands Health Campus and whether it has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: Construction demand to plunge this year after COVID-19 stalls projects

Woodlands Health Campus, which was scheduled to progressively open from 2022, is now slated to open from 2023 instead, said Mr Gan.

Similarly, the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Integrated Care Hub and the Singapore General Hospital Emergency Medicine Building are now expected to open one year later in 2023 and 2024 respectively, he added.

The new polyclinics in Eunos, Kallang and Bukit Panjang, which were originally planned to open by the end of the year, are now expected to open by end-2021.

“As the COVID-19 situation is evolving and construction works are still ramping up progressively, we can expect further changes in the timelines for the completion of our healthcare facilities,” he said.

READ: COVID-19: Construction projects could be delayed months, as contractors fear manpower crunch when clearing backlog

All construction activities were suspended during the "circuit breaker" period.

And while building at healthcare development sites have gradually resumed, Mr Gan noted that they "have not reached the pre-COVID pace" as the resumption of work needs to be done in a safe and controlled manner to minimise the risk of the coronavirus spreading.

"Based on our current assessment, these disruptions may result in delays by up to a year or so for many of our healthcare infrastructure projects," he said.

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Source: CNA/aa(gs)

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