SINGAPORE – Two new polyclinics opened in Bukit Panjang and Kallang on Saturday (Oct 2) located together with related facilities such as a nursing home and a chronic sick unit respectively.
A third polyclinic in Eunos, expected to open in December, will be co-located with a senior care centre.
“By co-locating polyclinics with healthcare facilities or community facilities, which include amenities such as sports centres, we open up opportunities to develop joint programmes that cater to holistic care, and improve the health of the population,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who was on-site for the official opening of the Bukit Panjang Polyclinic on Saturday.
The polyclinic occupies three floors in a 12-storey building and is the first to be integrated with a nursing home.
The opening of the polyclinics in Bukit Panjang and Kallang means that Singapore has 22 polyclinics now.
Mr Ong also announced that Bukit Merah and Outram polyclinics will be consolidated into a larger, more spacious one in Tiong Bahru by 2030, equipped with a wider range of capabilities to better serve residents. These include elderly-friendly and accessibility features.
Another nine polyclinics will be opened in the next nine years, all with integrated developments, said the minister.
This is in line with the Ministry of Health’s plan to expand the country’s polyclinic network to 32 by 2030.
On having polyclinics with related facilities located together, Mr Ong cited Sembawang Polyclinic, which is part of an upcoming community hub called Bukit Canberra. It will be co-located with sports facilities such as swimming pools, a gym, indoors sports hall, a park and a hawker centre.
He said that primary care delivered in the community, “must increasingly anchor our healthcare system”.
“We are operating against the backdrop of an ageing population and concomitant increase in the incidence of chronic disease,” said the minister.
“We therefore need to shift the focus of our healthcare upstream to preventive care within the community at the primary care level, and that way have early disease management to reduce downstream health complications… That’s something we must do as our population ages.”
He added that by the time a patient has to visit the hospital due to severe chronic diseases, “it’s too late, too expensive and too big a burden on the family and also on our whole healthcare system”.
Polyclinics will also progressively implement new models of care such as team-based care, where chronic patients would be managed by regular, multi-disciplinary care teams.
“By allowing the same care team to attend to the patient, there is continuity, and more importantly, it builds a relationship and trust between patients and their care team,” said Mr Ong.