THE new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) in Jurong will open its doors to patients on June 30 - more than six months behind its original schedule, owing to construction delays.
Initially, it will operate 365 of its 700 beds and 80 of its 120 outpatient clinic consultation rooms.
Its emergency department will at first take in only walk-in patients. From Aug 1, ambulances will be allowed to bring in those who are critically ill. Less serious cases will be taken to other public hospitals until early next year, when the hospital will accept all ambulance patients.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong toured the facilities yesterday and revealed details of the staggered opening, which will give the new hospital time to "build up competency and familiarity".
He said medical services director Ben Ong has been coordinating care across the country by managing the capacity of public hospitals.
Also, on June 30, Alexandra Hospital, which the NTFGH staff are now manning, will close for renovations. When it re-opens, it will be run by a new team that will then go on to staff the general hospital in Sengkang, which is slated to open in 2018.
Patients warded at Alexandra will be given the option to be transferred to the new NTFGH on June 29, or to another public hospital before that date.
Mr Foo Hee Jug, chief executive of Jurong Health, which will run NTFGH, said he expects about 50 patients will need to be moved by ambulance to the new hospital. Traffic Police will help ease the route between the two hospitals, so patients do not have to endure "a stop-start journey".
The hospital will have a 3,000-strong staff and is expected to have 550 beds and 93 clinics in use by the end of its first year.
A quarter of its beds will be for private patients. But all patients, subsidised or private, will have a window because of its fan-shaped layout that is also designed to give maximum privacy.
In line with newer ward designs, even the cheapest C class wards have six beds in a section sharing a toilet and shower, which is better for infection control. In older hospital wards, toilets and showers are centralised and often a distance away.
Mr Gan said having natural light, ventilation and a view to the outside world will help patients recover faster.
Because of the large industrial area nearby, the hospital expects to see more trauma cases than other public hospitals, and it will be able to provide decontamination if necessary. Its emergency department has six beds for critically ill patients who might need resuscitation, and 26 individual rooms for the severely ill. The latter can be quickly reconfigured in an emergency to cater to a much larger number of casualties.
Meanwhile, two of the hospital's unused wards, with a total of 76 beds, will be turned into community hospital wards and be run by staff of Jurong Community Hospital, which will open next door later this year and will eventually have 400 beds of its own.
This article was first published on April 30, 2015.
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