The Ministry of Health is taking measures to ensure that there will be sufficient overall bed capacity in hospitals to meet healthcare needs, despite the delay in the opening of Ng Teng Fong Hospital (NTFGH).

2              NTFGH, which is scheduled for progressive opening from December this year, will be delayed by about 6 months due to a delay in construction works. MOH has asked JurongHealth Services to work with the contractors to avoid further delays to the project. MOH will continue to work with JurongHealth to actively monitor progress of the construction, and mobilise the necessary resources to speed up its development.

3              Since the start of the year, MOH has been working with public healthcare clusters to actively manage the demand for and supply of hospital beds nation-wide under the leadership of A/Prof Benjamin Ong, Director of Medical Services (DMS). This work will be formalised under a taskforce to be led by A/Prof Ong, which will be tasked to ensure that there will be sufficient capacity within the public healthcare system to meet healthcare needs during this period of delay.

4              MOH has already planned a number of measures to mitigate the impact of the delay of NTFGH opening.

i) First, JurongHealth will continue to operate the 330-bedded Alexandra Hospital to meet the national need for acute care.

ii) Second, MOH will continue to speed up efforts to expand capacity in other areas. The new 280-bed Changi General Hospital-St Andrew’s Community Hospital Integrated Building will progressively open from December 2014 to the first half of 2015. In addition, in response to the delay of NTFGH opening, MOH is working with various hospitals to add about 150 beds by end 2014 to meet any surge in acute care demand. Overall, we will have added over 400 acute and community hospital beds by end 2014. This is over and above the 300 beds added last year.

iii) Third, MOH will continue to work with hospitals to improve processes to better serve patients and facilitate timely discharge. We have added some 800 home care places since January this year, and will be adding new nursing home capacity between now and end 2015.

5              Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, said: “I am disappointed that the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital has been delayed and we will not be able to open the hospital as planned in December this year. Our priority is to work with JurongHealth to avoid further delays and ensure that overall capacity in the public healthcare system is not adversely affected and patient care will not be compromised. I have asked DMS A/Prof Benjamin Ong to oversee this and his taskforce has been working with our public hospitals to ensure we have adequate capacity to meet the needs of our population. MOH will continue to work with JurongHealth to closely monitor the progress of the works and provide them the necessary support and assistance.”

17 AUGUST 2014