1. It gives me great pleasure to join you this morning for the official opening of Bukit Panjang Polyclinic.
2. Our network of polyclinics is expanding and is taking on an increasingly important role in healthcare. We are operating against a backdrop of an ageing population and concomitant increase in chronic disease prevalence. We therefore need to shift our focus to upstream preventive and early disease management to reduce downstream health complications. By the time a patient has to visit the hospital, it is usually too late. Therefore, primary care, delivered in the community, must increasingly anchor our healthcare system.
3. Bukit Panjang Polyclinic is our 21st in Singapore. It is part of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) plan to expand our polyclinic network to 32 by 2030. Although I am here at Bukit Panjang with the team from the National University Health System, I am also happy to share that Kallang Polyclinic, under the National Healthcare Group, is also opening its doors to the residents and patients today. Eunos Polyclinic, under SingHealth, will be opening in December this year.
4. At the same time, we are consolidating Bukit Merah and Outram Polyclinics into a larger new polyclinic in Tiong Bahru by 2030. Bukit Merah and Outram Polyclinics are smaller polyclinics and have been serving residents since 1981 and 1997 respectively. With the rising and evolving healthcare needs of the residents in the area, we need a polyclinic with a wider range of capabilities and services to serve the needs of residents living in that area. Residents can look forward to a new polyclinic that will be more spacious, and provide better services, with elderly-friendly and accessibility features.
5. Let me say something about these new polyclinics. They will provide services from medical treatment for acute conditions and chronic disease management, to women and child health services, allied health services, and radiological, laboratory and pharmacy services. In addition, there are two new features worth highlighting.
6. First, they are part of an integrated development. Bukit Panjang Polyclinic is the first polyclinic co-located with a nursing home, in this 12-storey integrated healthcare facility. The integrated development also includes a senior care centre, which provides 60 day-care places. Similarly, Kallang Polyclinic is co-located with a chronic sick unit, while Eunos Polyclinic is co-located with a senior care centre.
7. By co-locating polyclinics with healthcare facilities or community facilities, which include amenities such as sports centres, we open up opportunities to develop joint programmes that cater to holistic care, and improve the health of the population.
8. Besides Bukit Panjang, Kallang and Eunos, in the next nine years, we aim to open another nine polyclinics in integrated developments that are either co-located with other healthcare facilities or with community facilities. Sembawang Polyclinic, for example, is part of an upcoming community hub called Bukit Canberra, and is co-located with sports facilities, such as swimming pools, a gym, an indoor sport hall, as well as a park and a hawker centre.
9. Second, polyclinics will progressively implement new models of care. For instance, polyclinics have introduced team-based care models where chronic patients would be managed by regular, multi-disciplinary care teams. By allowing the same care team to attend to the patient, there is continuity, and more importantly, it builds relationship and trust between patients and their care team.
10. Polyclinics have also accelerated the roll out of telehealth services to improve patients’ access to care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These services range from tele-consultations to remote vital signs monitoring, such as the Primary Tech-Enhanced Care pilot for hypertension.
11. It has been a challenge for our polyclinic clusters to deliver these new polyclinics amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. You have to navigate through many uncertainties and risks of delay. But you delivered, even as you work tirelessly to support our nation’s efforts in combatting COVID-19. I thank you for your dedication, and your efforts to see through these projects and improve residents’ access to quality and affordable primary care services.
12. I also want to thank the support of the local Advisors, community partners and residents, for giving us ground advice, and helping residents familiarise with the new polyclinic. I am confident that Bukit Panjang Polyclinic will be a prominent landmark in the community, and excel in its role to champion healthy living and caring for residents.
13. It is now my pleasure to announce the opening of Bukit Panjang Polyclinic. Congratulations. Thank you.