NATIONAL serviceman Tan Yan Jie, 20, turned up at the newly built Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) in Yishun yesterday to have his wisdom tooth extracted. “My appointment was supposed to have been at Alexandra Hospital, but now that its dental surgery has moved here, I’ve followed,” he said.
He was among more than 200 patients who had appointments at its 11 outpatient specialist clinics yesterday – some were Yishun residents referred by their doctors, while others had followed the first lot of doctors transferred from Alexandra Hospital (AH). A KTPH spokesman said the first patient arrived at 7.45am for day surgery.
A shuttle bus plying between the hospital and the Yishun bus interchange disgorged its first load of passengers just five minutes before that.
KTPH stationed greeters at strategic points to direct patients to the clinics they needed to go to.
Mr Sokalingam Ramalingam, 52, was cheerful as he went about his job greeting patients and telling them where to go.
It is a job he had held at AH for the last eight years, until he was moved to KTPH.
Said the man who speaks English, Tamil, Malay, Mandarin and Hokkien: “I particularly like helping elderly patients. I will be old one day and hope someone will help me the same way too.”
He was showing Mr Mohd Sharif Imam Khan Shaib, 64, the ropes. Mr Sharif, a retired photo technician from AH’s X-ray department, had returned to work a few months ago.
Apart from patients who had appointments, KTPH also drew sightseers.
Retiree Tan Ah Kwang, 71, took a walk there with his wife from their home in Block 109.
“It’s very convenient as it is a stone’s throw away,” he said, wistfully, as his son, with whom he and his wife live, has decided to move out of Yishun.
Foodies as Singaporeans are, some sightseers just had to check out the hospital’s newly opened food court.
A KTPH spokesman said the stalls there will offer healthier food options – brown rice and wholemeal bread, for instance.
“White rice and white bread will still be on the menu – but at a slightly higher price,” she said.
KTPH is the first public hospital to open here in more than a decade.
Apart from its specialist clinics, KTPH’s pharmacy, daysurgery suites and laboratories were also in operation.
The rest of the 550-bed hospital will open from July.