Charity hospital to expand

PHOTO: Charity hospital to expand

SINGAPORE - The Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital is slated to become Singapore's largest single-site nursing- home operator by 2015, as a $70-million redevelopment and expansion plan gets under way.

Speaking at the charity hospital's 101st-anniversary celebration yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said the hospital will increase its bed capacity from 400 to 600, to prepare for the demands of an ageing population. By 2030, one in five Singaporeans is projected to be more than 65 years old.

Mr Gan said: "We need to ensure that we invest adequately in care facilities well ahead of time, to be prepared to respond to the impending spike in demand. This includes not only providing for acute hospital capacity, but also long-term care facilities in the community."

To accommodate the additional beds, a new building will be constructed. It is expected to be 10 to 14 storeys high and will be ready by 2015.

In addition, three existing colonial buildings in the compound which house wards will be conserved. A three-storey building that serves as the hospital's facade will also be conserved. The rest of the land will be returned to the State.

The hospital currently comprises 14 blocks spread over a 2.4ha plot of land. It houses 350 nursing-home beds and 50 community-hospital beds.

It also has a day rehabilitation centre, a traditional Chinese medicine centre and an outpatient clinic, which are open to walk-in patients.

Construction is slated to begin in the later half of next year and will be co-funded by the Government and the hospital.

Hospital chairman Patrick Lee said: "Being a charity, our mission is to serve the community's needs. We have realised that the ageing population is a serious trend in Singapore and, therefore, more beds would be required in the future."

Mr Lee revealed that the hospital is also looking to employ and train more health-care staff, so that there is an adequate support system in place before the expansion.

A second site was proposed for the hospital last year, but Mr Lee said the focus is now on expanding its current premises and settling on a new lease after its tenancy expires in 2015.

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