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Singapore's primary care to be boosted; minimum legal age to buy tobacco to be raised to 21

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 14:30

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TheMinistry of Health (MOH) will roll out a scaled-up primary care network (PCN) scheme this year to provide more support for more general practitioners (GPs) to get started on the initiative.

THE Ministry of Health (MOH) will roll out a scaled-up primary care network (PCN) scheme this year to provide more support for more general practitioners (GPs) to get started on the initiative.

Under the scheme, GPs will form virtual networks and deliver care through a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to better manage patients' needs.

The PCN was piloted in 2012 to improve chronic disease management through team-based care.

Beyond the PCNs, MOH will open more primary care facilities, said Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min on Thursday.

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Keat Hong and Tampines family medicine clinics are to open this year, and Pioneer Polyclinic and Punggol Polyclinic will be operational this year.

"We are on track to operationalise new polyclinics in Bukit Panjang, Eunos and Sembawang by 2020. I am also pleased to announce that we will build a new polyclinic in the Kallang/Balestier area which is expected to be operational by 2020," said Dr Lam.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor, in her speech in parliament, said that to strengthen mental health services over the next five years, MOH will improve early identification of mental health symptoms, beef up response to mental health needs in the community and expand mental health services in polyclinics, among other measures.

Dr Khor also announced that the ministry has its sights set on tobacco.

To deter Singapore youths from using tobacco, MOH will raise the minimum legal age for the purchase, use and possession of tobacco products by minors from 18 to 21 years. She said that the change will be implemented over the next few years.

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