Heart patients with stable conditions are now co-managed by National Heart Centre (NHC), Changi General Hospital (CGH) and SingHealth Polyclinics (SHP) physicians. Guidelines on management of heart problems such as chest pain and coronary artery disease are in place to enable SHP Family Physicians as well as both National Heart Centre’s and Changi General Hospital’s cardiologists to cross-refer patients seamlessly and in the shortest time possible. Patients seen at SingHealth Polyclinics, who show recurrence of symptoms such as chest pains, (but with no signs of a heart attack), are referred to National Heart Centre and Changi General Hospital via a fast track referral system.

They will return to the specialist clinics where they were previously treated. Those who are seen at SingHealth Polyclinics for a severe heart condition or heart attack are immediately sent to the Accident and Emergency Department of their nearest hospital.

The medical information of patients is shared among National Heart Centre, Changi General Hospital and SingHealth Polyclinics when the patient is referred. Regular training updates are provided for SHP Family Physicians to keep abreast of the latest medical management of the heart patients.

The same/similar medication required by the patients is made available at NHC, CGH and SHP. Given the positive results to date, SingHealth is planning Phase II of the SingHealth HeartCare Programme by extending the reach of the programme to any interested external parties in the medical community, such as GPs and practitioners from other polyclinics. This will be done by developing a CME programme, targeted for 29 March 03.

The GP partners in this extended SingHealth Heart Care programme will receive continual education and training by cardiologists on specific heart diseases, to enable us to effectively discharge stable cardiac patients back to their Primary Physician.

We will be recruiting GP partners at "Sharing with GPs in care of patients with chest pain, hypertension and heart failure" CME programme held on 29 March 2003, at Changi General Hospital. A similar session will be organised by NHC in May 03.

Benefits of the ‘SINGHEALTH HEARTCARE’ Programme

  • Greater convenience and flexibility for heart patients who are stable, and who can receive follow-ups regularly at a SingHealth Polyclinic near to their homes at Polyclinic rates instead of Specialist consultation fees.
  • Fast track referral to NHC and CGH if symptoms recur.   
  • Able to easily monitor and adjust risk factors such as blood pressure and blood sugar.  
  • Ease in sharing medical information of patients for continuing care, for e.g. Blood tests results done at Polyclinics are made available to NHC and CGH.  
  • Enhance the ability of SHP Family Physicians in providing even better care for heart patients through continuing medical education and interaction with specialists.  
  • Better utilisation of specialist expertise at NHC and CGH.

Statistics and Facts of the ‘SINGHEALTH HEARTCARE’ Programme

Since Oct 2002, 326 heart patients, whose conditions have stabilised, have been referred to polyclinics from CGH and NHC. Since Oct 2002, SHP has referred 294 patients to the Accident and Emergency Departments for both CGH and NHC (via SGH’s Accident and Emergency Department. Since Oct 2002, SHP has referred 168 patients through a ‘fast track’ referral to CGH and NHC.

The lead-time to a ‘fast track’ appointment ranges from 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the patient’s condition (the shortest lead-time for fast track to NHC is within the same day and longest lead-time is 14 days.

80 Family Physicians and nurses from SingHealth Polyclinics have undergone training at NHC for this programme.