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Professor Philip Choo, Group CEO, National Healthcare Group

Professor Eugene Fidelis Soh, CEO, Tan Tock Seng Hospital 

Colleagues and friends

1. I am delighted to join you today to launch Tan Tock Seng Hospital Integrated Care Hub’s (ICH) rehabilitation and recovery wards.

2. The ICH is part of the HealthCity Novena development. This is a 17-hectare development in central Singapore, comprising a wide spectrum of healthcare services, research and education facilities. It is a mini ecosystem itself, sited within the larger healthcare ecosystem.

3. The masterplan for HealthCity Novena was first launched ten years ago, and we can see it slowly being brought to fruition. In the first stage was the opening of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, our third medical school, which has helped in building up and strengthening our pipeline of doctors.

4. In 2019, the new National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) was opened just in time before COVID-19 hit.

5. We then opened the Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation in 2019. It is a very nice facility and I have attended several conferences held there.

Step-down care services at ICH 

6. Now, we open the ICH which is another milestone in the realisation of the masterplan. ICH was initially due to open in 2022. However, like many projects undergoing construction during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the opening was delayed by a year. Nonetheless, I am proud to share that we are progressively catching up with the development of our healthcare infrastructure, including the opening of ICH today.

7. ICH offers various step-down care services, namely sub-acute, rehabilitation and palliative care. When fully completed, it will have 608 beds, of which 300 rehabilitation beds and 35 palliative care beds will be opened by end of this year. By then, Dover Park Hospice will move into ICH to better provide end-of-life care to patients. This is also part of our efforts to expand palliative care services to meet the needs of patients.

8. By having hospice services co-located with rehabilitation facilities, it paves the way for us to pilot new palliative care models. We hope that by integrating rehabilitation into palliative care, we can enrich the quality of life for those with serious illnesses, and maximise healing and comfort for the patients and their families.

9. I also wish to acknowledge ICH’s efforts to step up rehabilitation care in various areas. This is aligned with the hospital’s care philosophy of “Every Moment a Rehab Moment”. ICH was designed to empower patients to take advantage of every moment of their stay.

10. There are dedicated spaces within the wards and around the building to facilitate therapeutic activities for patients. As we observed earlier, patients can engage in various group activities, such as seated yoga, for an immersive and interactive rehabilitation experience that fosters their overall well-being.

11. ICH’s services will complement that of Tan Tock Seng Hospital as well as Ren Ci Community Hospital, which are nearby. With the range of healthcare facilities within close proximity to each other, we hope to offer patients a seamless transition from acute care to step down care to rehabilitation care, and then back to home.

12. An example of how ICH helps patients transit back to the community and their homes safely is demonstrated by this Living Resource Studio where we are at now. The studio provides very realistic settings such as a simulated home a mobility circuit to simulate different terrains in the community, and a public bus. Thank you to SBS Transit for sponsoring the bus. These facilities aim to prepare patients and caregivers to live more independently using various assistive devices and technologies.

Expanding healthcare capacity

13. With the opening of ICH, we take another step forward in our efforts to resolve the tight bed situation that we are facing today, especially after COVID-19. Our public healthcare system has been under stress after COVID-19, partly due to infrastructure projects that are delayed. At the same time, we are seeing more and more patients post-COVID, not with COVID-19 infections, but with various illnesses.  In July this year, I explained how COVID-19 has resulted in all these and we are going to take some actions to resolve the situation.

14. Major infrastructure projects are one major thrust of our response. We have the Eastern Integrated Health Campus and redevelopment of Alexandra Hospital that are ongoing. They will both add significant capacity to our healthcare system, and will be completed towards the end of this decade. The Woodlands Health Campus, which will provide significant relief for Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, will start to open in phases from the end of this year. These are major developments that took many years.

15. In the short term, we still need to do something. We have been exploring ways to add beds to our healthcare capacity by the end of this year. I announced earlier that we intend to find space in existing hospitals to add more acute beds, open more community hospital beds, Mobile Inpatient Care @ Home (MIC@Home), Transitional Care Facilities and nursing homes. All in all, this additional short-term capacity is about 1,300 beds, equivalent to one and a half regional hospitals, when it is realised by the end of the year.

16. As of now, we have added close to 500 beds, comprising 30 acute beds, 90 community hospital beds, 20 MIC@Home, and over 350 nursing home beds. We are on track to open the rest of the additional capacity by the end of this year, including the beds offered by the ICH. This additional capacity requires more manpower, and MOH will continue to monitor both the infrastructure development and manpower inflows to ensure that they increase in tandem.

17. It has been a challenging period for the healthcare community since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019. I seek the patience of Singaporeans, as our polyclinics and hospitals become much more crowded than before the pandemic. As our population ages, the demand for healthcare will also increase relentlessly.

18. But we are determined to overcome this by expanding capacity in the short and medium term, recruit more manpower to support those additional facilities, and embark on an ambitious plan on preventive care to keep our population healthier.


19. In closing, the opening of ICH marks a new milestone in the way we integrate care and empower patients and their families to take ownership of their recovery.

20. I congratulate the ICH team on the completion of this new facility. Thank you very much for the hard work. I know there were many obstacles you encountered and overcame. I look forward to many more years of helping patients recover well, stay well, and live meaningfully. Thank you.

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