​Sengkang General Hospital and Sengkang Community Hospital will open in the latter half of next year, taking specialised medical treatments to the heartland.

When fully opened, the two hospitals will also add 1,400 beds to meet the healthcare needs of the Republic's ageing population, amid a bed crunch here.

The hospitals will be collaborating with the National Heart Centre and Singapore National Eye Centre, both located at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in Outram Road, to provide specialized services for eye and heart conditions such as cataracts and heart disease.

Professor Christopher Cheng, chief executive of Sengkang Health, said: "If repetitive visits to the hospital are required for certain conditions, instead of going 20km to Outram campus, patients can just walk over or take the LRT to visit us."

Medical staff from the national centres will be the ones running the specialist clinics at the Sengkang hospitals.

"Patients (at the Sengkang hospitals) get the same level of specialized care they would expect in the national centres because they are run by the same people," Prof Cheng said.

"It is same people, same level of expertise, but closer to home."

The hospitals also have other specialist clinics for neurology, psychiatry and urology, for example.

Prof Cheng was speaking yesterday at the launch of the Community Health Fair at Compass One mall in Sengkang, organised by Sengkang Health to raise awareness about health conditions such as dementia and cancer, and other health matters.

He said the construction of the hospitals – located next to Cheng Lim LRT station and diagonally across from Sengkang MRT station – is progressing smoothly and is on track.

"We have spent countless hours poring over the plans to ensure that the services will be smooth and seamless," he added.

The news was welcomed by Mr Bryan Chee, 55, who is looking forward to the specialist clinics the most.

The teacher, a Sengkang resident, regularly takes his in-laws, who are in their 80s, for check-ups at the eye centre at SGH.

"Parking can be a problem... It will be much more convenient if we can go to the Sengkang hospitals. Maybe I will need to take only half-day leave then," he said.

The hospitals will also be leveraging telehealth technologies to better support community care.

For instance, rehabilitative help will be provided remotely, through video conferencing, so that discharged patients can do rehab exercises at home, with the support of a hospital therapist.

They are also working closely with general practitioners in the north-east to provide health screening, and help for chronic diseases.

Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min, who was the guest of honour at the launch, said the Health Ministry will provide funding support to patients managed under such primary care networks, and stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

"As much as possible, we want to move upstream in our efforts to ensure everyone stays healthy so that they do not have to visit the clinic or hospital in the first place," he said.

You can read the original article here: The Straits Times - Specialised Care In The Heartland.pdf