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Several public hospitals reschedule non-urgent procedures, outpatient appointments to manage Wuhan virus situation

SINGAPORE — Several public hospitals here are rescheduling non-urgent procedures and outpatient clinic appointments to help them cope with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Notices at Tan Tock Seng Hospital informing visitors and patients of the Wuhan virus on 22 Jan.

Notices at Tan Tock Seng Hospital informing visitors and patients of the Wuhan virus on 22 Jan.

SINGAPORE — Several public hospitals here are rescheduling non-urgent procedures and outpatient clinic appointments to help them cope with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the country.

SingHealth — Singapore’s largest cluster of healthcare institutions — said in response to TODAY’s queries on Wednesday (Jan 29) that it is temporarily reducing the number of non-urgent procedures and specialist outpatient clinic appointments to minimise visits and reduce the risk of infection.

SingHealth manages four public hospitals — Singapore General Hospital, Changi General Hospital, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and Sengkang General Hospital — as well as a network of polyclinics, national specialty centres and community hospitals.

Professor Fong Kok Yong, its deputy group chief executive officer of medical and clinical services, said: “The rescheduling of procedures and appointments will only be done for non-urgent cases which our clinical teams have reviewed to be safe for a temporary deferment.”

He added that clinical care for patients is “not compromised in any way”.

Prof Fong said that SingHealth’s healthcare institutions have been on high vigilance and have actively taken stringent measures to manage the coronavirus situation that had its first outbreak in Wuhan, China.

“We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause to some of our patients, and seek their understanding that this is a necessary step for us to ensure a strong and swift response to the evolving situation, and to keep them and their loved ones safe,” Prof Fong added.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) — which operates under the National Healthcare Group banner, and where the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) is located — will also reschedule non-urgent specialist outpatient appointments and surgical procedures.

“This will enable us to ramp up support at the NCID for increased screening and management of the coronavirus cases,” TTSH said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

The hospital apologised for the inconvenience this will cause to some of the affected patients, but it added: “It is (but) a necessary step in our response against the evolving situation and protecting the community.”

As of Wednesday evening, Singapore is the second-most infected country after Thailand outside of China.

The Ministry of Health said that three more Chinese nationals from Wuhan have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of imported cases here to 10.

The trio include a couple who had been staying with family at Lorong Lew Lian in Upper Serangoon, and a 56-year-old man who arrived in Singapore from Wuhan on Jan 20.

All three are now warded at the NCID. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY WONG PEI TING

Related topics

Wuhan Wuhan virus coronavirus outbreak health SingHealth Tan Tock Seng Hospital

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