SINGAPORE: Cancer patients living in the eastern part of Singapore can now receive treatment at a new oncology clinic in Changi General Hospital.
It's the first satellite clinic set up by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).
It will provide consultation and chemotherapy for patients with breast and gastrointestinal cancer.
About a quarter of the 7,000 patients the NCCS sees annually, live in the east and the number is set to grow.
Instead of going to Outram for consultation and chemotherapy, a number of them will now be able to receive treatment in their own neighbourhood.
Director of National Cancer Centre, professor Soo Khee Chee said: “It is very convenient because they do not have to go all the way down to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Campus. So, travelling and waiting time will be significantly reduced. Secondly, if they have already been previously treated in the hospital here, they are very comfortable and familiar with the environment here.
“You must understand a lot of the patients who are going to be treated at our clinic had the original operation done in this hospital, which then means that not only are they familiar with the environment here, it means that the surgeons who have treated them are part of the team that continues to look after them in the cancer clinic here.”
One of the centre's patients, Mrs Chong, who is a breast cancer survivor, now attends the new clinic and said her total travelling time is cut down by more than an hour, since she lives in Tampines.
“I don't find any inconvenience in travelling because it's so close to home. In 15 minutes, I'm here, and the waiting time for the jab maybe is about 10 to 15 minutes, and I'm out of the clinic again.
“So all in all, with the treatment and everything else, I'm back home within an hour. The booster jab, you can either do it yourself at home, or you can come back to the clinic where the nurses will administer for you.
“I choose to come back because I find that there is no inconvenience caused, I live just in Tampines.
“But if I were to have to do it in SGH, I might try to administer it myself because of the travelling time and the waiting time. So this is how convenient it is that I choose to come back.”
The clinic started operations last month and sees about 23 patients for consultation weekly.
Eventually, the clinic is expected to take care of about 15 per cent of the centre's patients, which would alleviate the workload at its headquarters, and more clinics are in the pipeline.
Professor Soo said the next one will be at Sengkang Hospital, when it is operational.
“We are now in the planning phase of setting up another satellite clinic when Sengkang Hospital comes up, and hopefully we will have many more of such because at the end of the day, we clearly cannot see all of the cancer patients in National Cancer Centre, and yet we do want to have the standards and the quality of medicine that the Cancer Centre has to deliver to all this regional hospitals.
“And as new hospitals come up, we will try to set up a similar model. The challenge for us is finding enough healthcare workers to staff these places, and hence the great need for us to continue to train our healthcare workers.” - CNA/ck
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