Tuesday, September 25, 2012

MOH to build nursing home at Bishan Street 13

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) will proceed with building a nursing home, the Lions Home for the Elders, at Bishan Street 13.

Channel NewsAsia understands that residents were informed about this through a letter from the chairman of the Bishan East Citizens Consultative Committee, Mr Chua Thian Poh.

This comes after a dialogue with Bishan East residents on 27 May.

Among the attendees was Mr Wong Kan Seng, Advisor to Bishan Grassroots Organisations.

In a written reply to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Wong said that he supports the plan to build a nursing home to serve the residents' needs.

He explained: "With a fast aging population, it is inevitable that there will be demand for nursing homes by residents with aged parents. It is better to have such facilities ready before demand outstrips supply. As many residents in Bishan are also fast aging, it is important to have a nursing home nearer their home so that they are not far from their children and other close relatives."

He added that in the past few months, he and grassroots leaders worked with MOH to study the issues raised by residents.

One of the issues was whether the nursing home could be shifted to alternative sites in Bishan.

Some residents had also proposed other sites for consideration.

MOH explained in a reply to Channel NewsAsia that it has worked with planning agencies such as the Housing and Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to study the alternative sites.

Unfortunately, in land-scarce Singapore, green field sites are already designated for future development to meet critical needs such as housing and education, and the shifting of the nursing home to other sites will in turn displace these uses.

Other concerns raised during the dialogue was whether the building will block views and breeze and create issues such as traffic congestion and noise.

To address these concerns, MOH agreed to cap the building at six storeys.

Design features will also be incorporated to screen off direct views of the wards, as well as provide greenery on the roof top and ground levels.

MOH will also ensure that there are adequate car parking facilities in the area.

MOH plans to keep residents updated on developments.

It will engage the residents again when the preliminary designs are developed, to seek their views and improve upon the design.

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