SINGAPORE: The new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital plan to have a transitional care programme when they open so as to alleviate problems of patient overload.
The programme, which has been piloted at Alexandra Hospital, aims to help subacute care patients transition smoothly from the hospital to the home.
One patient, Mr Wong Say Kow, 68, underwent an operation for his leg in 2011 after being diagnosed with an infection.
The Taman Jurong resident has to go to the National University Hospital (NUH) every six months for treatment.
But he will have a more convenient option when the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital opens near his home in December.
When the hospital is in operation, it is expected to relieve patient load from both NUH and Singapore General Hospital.
And to ensure that patients are well supported after they have been discharged so that re-admissions are kept to a minimum, a transitional care team comprising doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals will be available to meet the patients' medical, social and psychological needs.
In addition to the 700 beds at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, the new Jurong Community Hospital, which will be right next to it next year, will house 400 beds.
This will give Ng Teng Fong General Hospital flexibility when it comes to dealing with high bed occupancy rates.
But the hospital said the solution cannot lie solely with adding more beds, as more needs to be done in the primary care sector.
Foo Hee Jug, chief executive officer of Jurong Health Services, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, said: "The centre of gravity cannot be in an acute hospital setting. We must do and plan activities right now to get patients comfortable with community care.
“We must, from this point in time, start to engage with community partners, GPs, primary care, so that patients will be comfortable to be cared for in the community, and the congestion in the acute hospital can be alleviated."
Mr Foo added he would ideally like to see the bed occupancy at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital kept between 80 per cent and 85 per cent.
Testing systems and processes are already underway for the hospital, which will have a staff of 3,000.
But 1,000 more staff are still needed in order for the acute and community hospitals to be fully operational.
In order to engage the community in the West, residents were also asked to sign on a part of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital building – a cement slab.
The cement slab will be hoisted to the top of the hospital to mark the completion phase of the Inpatient Tower.
So far, over 2,000 signatures were signed on the topping out beam.
The hospital will benefit some 900,000 residents in the West.