Colorectal hospital to ramp up services, take in more patients

PHOTO: Colorectal hospital to ramp up services, take in more patients

SINGAPORE - Nine months after launching in Singapore, Fortis Colorectal Hospital aims to step up its services - with plans including the development of a cancer cell "tracer" and allocation of more inpatient beds.

The 31-bed private hospital specialising in colorectal diseases - the first venture in Singapore by India-based hospital operator Fortis Healthcare - has already moved its outpatient clinic to make patients' lives easier.

The switch from Novena to its building at Adam Road means patients no longer need to shuttle between the locations for treatment.

The hospital also plans to find another location for day surgery needs, said its new chief executive of Fortis Healthcare Singapore Tan Poh Lan.

She revealed the developments in her first interview with The Straits Times since taking over last September from Dr Jeremy Lim, who joined the National University of Singapore.

Fortis will also focus on integrating hospital services with those offered by diagnostic imaging chain RadLink-Asia, which it acquired last February.

RadLink is Singapore's largest private provider of scans such as X-rays, ultrasounds and positron emission tomography (PET).

The chain also has three general practitioner (GP) clinics under its wing, and Ms Tan said referrals from GPs and radiologists to the hospital are being made more seamless.

Dr Nevil Chimon, the chief executive of a RadLink lab called Singapore Radiopharmaceuticals, said it started producing a radioactive tracer for colorectal disease last year, following talks with colorectal surgeons.

When used in PET scans, in which patients are injected with radioactive substances, this tracer can locate cancer cells and monitor the way they multiply - all of which is read by a machine, said Dr Chimon.

The tracer is currently being tested and is not used on patients here yet.

"It's a new avenue for doctors. They can use it to monitor the response to treatment, to plan and manage patient care better."

Fortis has treated about 1,000 patients for services including major surgery and health screenings since it started operations on July 31 last year.

With the hospital becoming more established, Ms Tan said it is time to build its inpatient pool, which should form the bulk of services for any hospital.

Currently, day surgery patients take up 70 per cent of its beds, but they go home in the evening after undergoing minor procedures.

By moving this group elsewhere, the beds can be freed up for inpatient stays.

"This will offer more patients another option for extended treatment," said Ms Tan.

Meanwhile, the relocation of the hospital's outpatient clinic has been welcomed by patients such as retiree Jimmy Tan, 71, who visited the Novena clinic for a health screening last April.

Earlier this month, he took his wife to the newly relocated clinic for a screening, which he found more convenient.

"It's less troublesome. The parking is easier and there is no need to search high and low for the clinic," he said in Mandarin.

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