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Bigger role, more facilities for NUH

  Friday, 27 l 08 l 2010 Source:  The Straits Times   
By: Salma Khalik

Khaw says new tower block has raised staff morale; MRT station and specialty centres coming up will inject vitality

SINGAPORE’S first restructured hospital needs to improve its facilities to meet an expanded role over the next 25 years, said Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

The National University Hospital (NUH) in Kent Ridge has done well in its first 25 years, he said, but success has brought its own problems.

“In recent years, the shortage of carparks, office spaces, clinics, operating theatres and beds has begun to constrain its next stage of development,” he said in a posting on the Health Ministry’s Facebook page.

The next lap will include the building of two national specialty centres for heart and cancer, and developing NUH into an academic medical centre. The 1,000-bed hospital’s new masterplan makes more intensive use of its land, and takes into account the opening next year of an MRT station nearby.

Explaining the new masterplan, Mr Khaw told The Straits Times that the hospital “will locate facilities with large human traffic close to the MRT station, so as to reduce walking by patients, visitors and staff”.

NUH serves the population in the west.

Yesterday, Mr Khaw toured the new $180 million tower block, which has housed the administrative offices since May and added 376 parking spaces. The offices vacated will be turned into much-needed operating theatres, wards and clinics. Work on this begins next month.

The minister said both the new offices and parking spaces were eagerly awaited and have “boosted staff morale in a major way”.

This is the second new building at NUH, following the opening of the Faculty of Dentistry building last year.

The next new building to be ready will be the Centre for Translational Medicine in 2012, followed by the NUH Medical Centre, built over the Kent Ridge MRT Station, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the old hospital building, which opened in 1985, is being renovated.

Mr Khaw said: “Health care is capital, staff and skills-intensive. With continuing medical progress, keeping up standards means continuous investment in physical development, staff and capabilities.

“It takes a lot of money but it is money well spent.”

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