SGH expanding A&E facilities to meet demand

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) is expanding its accident and emergency (A&E) facilities to meet demand.

The ground was broken yesterday on a 12-storey emergency medicine building, expected to be completed in 2023. It will replace the hospital's existing A&E facilities and have about four times the space of the existing emergency facilities.

Revealing details about the development, SGH chief executive Kenneth Kwek said the building will double the number of beds in the existing Acute Medical Unit.

There are 67 beds in the current unit, which serves patients admitted from the Emergency Department.

The new building will be connected to the main hospital complex, as well as specialty centres such as the upcoming Outram Community Hospital.

This will allow patients to benefit from a wider range of facilities and the pooled expertise of healthcare staff. It will also reduce patient transfer time.

Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said at yesterday's groundbreaking ceremony: "The new emergency medicine building will also include isolation rooms and an expanded hospital decontamination station, enhancing SGH's ability to handle disease, outbreaks and mass casualty incidents, where there may be patients exposed to hazardous materials."

Demand for emergency care is increasing, especially among people over 65. Last year, they made up a third of emergency patients, up from a quarter a decade earlier.

The existing A&E building, which was built 40 years ago, serves between 300 and 400 patients a day, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

The building may be repurposed to house clinical facilities, such as intensive care units, Professor Kwek said.

Members of the public hope that the new building will lead to greater efficiency and shorter waiting times.

Analyst Nur Liyana, 34, who has been a patient at the current A&E, said it is "better than the A&Es in other hospitals".

But she felt the waiting time to see a doctor there was still too long.