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 MOH aims to create hassle—free healthcare system for regions in S’pore

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PostSubject: MOH aims to create hassle—free healthcare system for regions in S’pore   Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:38 am

SINGAPORE : Providing "hassle free" healthcare to each region in Singapore is part of the Health Ministry’s major strategy to provide an integrated approach to healthcare.

Patients with chronic conditions at Changi General Hospital (CGH) who no longer require specialist care can take part in the GP Chronic Care Programme.

Currently 51 GPs are taking part in the programme, providing follow up care for 274 patients.

Low Cheng Ooi, chairman, Medical Board, Changi General Hospital, said: "The patients like it because it is flexible, they do not have to queue up in clinics to see our specialists. Our GPs like it because they also have access to our specialists whenever they have problems, they can consult easily."

And with the success of the programme, CGH said its gearing up to take the programme one step further.

Selina Seah, director, Operations, Changi General Hospital, said: "We can try to track our patients using IT as an enabler, so that the healthcare providers can get the right information at the right time for our patients. This way, we can also see where our patients are in the system and where they need help."

The hospital’s programme ties in with the Ministry’s plan to cater to healthcare needs within the different parts of Singapore.

In his latest blog post, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the upcoming Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, scheduled to open next year, is gearing up for this role for the residents living in the north, while CGH is gearing up for the east.

He also said that given Singapore’s aging population, healthcare partners need to adopt a ’patient—centric’ approach as opposed to the traditional’ institution—centric’ approach.

He said regional acute—care hospitals, which provide a wide range of specialist care and treatment, can work more closely with key healthcare partners such as community hospitals, nursing homes and GPs.

For instance, an elderly patient who is just discharged from an acute hospital will still need to be cared for by other healthcare professionals outside the hospital, such as his family doctor.

Another example would be how acute hospitals will need to do more to ensure that frail elderly patients are properly settled into their homes and handed over to the home care team.

But some general practitioners said more administrative support needs to be given before this new framework can succeed.

Dr Wong Tien Hua, council member, Singapore Medical Association, said: "GPs need more access to continual training to be able to arm themselves with the skills set to manage chronic diseases."

The Health Minister said that creating a hassle—free healthcare system for every region in Singapore is a major strategy his ministry is pushing for. This way, healthcare will be more convenient, safer and better at the lowest possible cost. — CNA/ms

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