The accident and emergency department (A&E), as the name suggests, are for patients with medically urgent situations.
Residents know this, because the authorities constantly remind us of this fact.
And with the recent COVID-19 cluster in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), you’d expect people to stay away from hospitals if their cases aren’t urgent.
SGH & SKH Facing Surge in A&E Patients After COVID-19 Cluster in TTSH Emerged
The Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) and the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) are urging people with non-critical conditions to avoid visiting their A&E departments, after the number of patients spiked in the last few days.
“We are seeing a high number of patients at our Emergency Department (A&E),” SKH said in a Facebook post on Saturday (1 May).
“Our wards are also running at full capacity at the moment. We request for you to seek medical care at a GP or polyclinic if your condition is not critical.”
SGH put up a Facebook post the day before, making the same request.
As a result of the spike in patients, both hospitals will allow only one companion for each patient.
Today (2 May), SGH also introduced changes to their visitor policy:
- visitors, caregivers, or accompanying persons who have been admitted to or visited TTSH wards from 18 April 2021 onwards will not be allowed into the hospital
- up to 5 visitors (including caregivers) are allowed for each patient per day
- up to 2 visitors (including caregivers) are allowed for each patient in the ward (excluding Isolation, Labour and Neonatal Wards) at any one time during the visiting hours of 12pm to 2pm and 5pm to 8.30pm
- no visitors are allowed for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients in the isolation wards (including ARI ward)
When TODAY contacted both hospitals for reasons behind the new measures, they said it was to control crowd flow and ensure there are sufficient healthcare facilities for those who really need it.
According to an SKH spokeswoman, non-critical cases make up about half the total cases seen at the emergency department.
“We would like to remind the public to seek medical treatment at the emergency department only for serious, urgent, and life-threatening emergencies,” the spokeswoman said.
Patients Diverted to Other Hospitals Away From TTSH
Unless you’ve been too lazy to pay your internet bills (like me), you’re probably aware of the COVID-19 cluster at TTSH.
Ever since a 46-year-old nurse tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday (28 Apr), 15 others have been found to be carrying the virus.
One of the patients who got infected in the cluster, an 88-year-old woman, died from COVID-19 complications.
To contain the outbreak, TTSH introduced several precautionary measures, including barring visitors except for critically ill patients.
The hospital announced that they will defer all elective patients – patients who ask to be admitted – except for urgent cases.
Accident and emergency cases that are not life-threatening have also been diverted away from TTSH to other hospitals.
When TODAY visited SKH and SGH recently, patients in the A&E departments said the waiting times weren’t anything out of the ordinary, and the area certainly wasn’t crowded.
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