Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital, the national hospital of Brunei, began operations in August 1984. Since its establishment, it has been continuously improved and expanded over the years in terms of its infrastructure, medical and healthcare services and facilities.
The establishment of various specialty and subspecialty departments at the hospital, on top of upgrades to high-tech equipment and the introduction of critical-care facilities, has improved its in-house capabilities, making Brunei self-suffi- cient in medical care.
The main focus of RIPAS Hospital is to provide Bruneians high quality and sustainable health services, and to realise its vision of being a centre of healthcare excellence in the country.
In 2014, an extension – the Women and Children’s Block – was built at the hospital to specifically focus on and accommodate the healthcare needs of women and children. The new unit was also introduced to ease the hospital’s growing patient loads – particularly in medical services – and make its opera- tions more systematic.
A clear example of this increase is seen in the Accident and Emergency Department, where it received around 135,000 patients seeking treatment in 2016, compared to just 67,000 patients in 2003.
The block is equipped with high-tech specialist facilities and services, including a Paediatric Ward, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ward, Children’s Specialist Ward, General Paediatric Ward, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Baby Unit, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Oncology Ward (children), 13 suites of labour rooms, two operation rooms, Gynaecology Ward (private rooms), and more.
Following the completion of an extensive BND1 million renovation and expansion project at the hospital, the Accident and Emergency Department now has three areas: the resuscitation area (red zone), urgent area (yellow zone) and non-urgent area (green zone). Each of these zones has been improved in terms of medical and health facilities (including equipment), space, and the number of rooms. A new emergency ward for children has also been introduced. RIPAS Hospital offers over 15 clin- ical specialties, among which include the Medical Services Department, Surgical Services Department, Accident and Emergency Department, Obstetric and Gynecology Department, Neurosurgery Department and Orthopedic Department.
Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) is a private specialist hospital in Brunei which offers general specialised and surgical healthcare services for the public, including women and children.
It has several clinics and units, including an Outpatient Clinic, Dental Clinic, Diagnostic Imaging Services, Laboratory, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Orthopaedics and Sports Injury, Paediatrics, Reproductive Medicine Unit, Occupational Health, Pre-Employment Health Screening, and Pre- implantation Genetic Screening.
The Outpatient Clinic is one of the facilities avail- able at the centre which is open to the public and offers various medical and healthcare services including cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, histopathology, nephrology, neurology, occupational health, psychology and other specialist surgical services such as implantology, neurosurgery, oral dental surgery and periodontal services, as well as orthopaedic surgery.
For women, the obstetrics and gynaecology clinic provides regular checkups and preventive care, while the paediatrics clinic offers medical care to children, including treatment to minimise the effects of disease.
The centre also provides pre-employment health screenings to individuals to ensure that they are in better health and fit to work.
Prior to 2003, patients in Brunei requiring tertiary cardiac care had no option but to travel overseas for treatment. This presented major challenges for medical services in the country, particularly for emergency cases, incurring huge medical bills. Fast-forward 15 years and the problem has dissolved, with Gleneagles JPMC (GJPMC) establishing itself as one of the region’s top cardiac centres.
Heart disease sits second in the list of top 10 causes of death in Brunei (2015) at 12.5 per cent, behind cancer. In 2016 alone, GJPMC performed over 1,000 angiograms, more than 550 percu- taneous interventions and over 150 open heart surgeries.
The private specialist hospital, a joint venture between the Brunei government and Parkway-Pantai Ltd (a subsidiary of IHH Healthcare Bhd, the second-largest healthcare company by mar- ket capitalisation in the world), is equipped with 50 beds – includ- ing eight at the Coronary Care Unit (CCU) – and houses specialist outpatient clinics, two operating theatres, two cardiac characteri- sation labs, a non-invasive cardiac lab and a rehabilitation centre.
GJPMC has been a pioneer in medical innovation and technology, and achieved a major milestone when it performed the first cor- onary stenting and coronary artery bypass graft surgery in 2003.
In 2013, treatment for cardiac rhythm abnormalities was enhanced with the introduction of 3D electrical mapping of the heart for electrophysiology and ablation, an area GJPMC now specialises in.
The surgical implantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) into a patient with severe heart failure in 2014 was followed by a trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in 2016 – a proce- dure which removed the necessity for open heart surgery.
GJPMC also made international headlines when it broadcast live the performing of advanced medical procedures at the cen- tre to the 14th MYLIVE 2017 in Kuala Lumpur – an international cardiology conference which attracted specialists from all over the world. It was the first-ever live telecast of an operation from Brunei. “We always try to incorporate the newest technologies, because all of these are either lifesaving or we are able to do things more efficiently or faster,” said GJPMC CEO, Dr Peter Tay.
Speaking about the hospital’s plans to move forward, Dr Tay noted, “We would like to work with the Ministry of Health to establish a National Heart Centre as Brunei already has centres of excellence for cancer, The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC). We have also got one centre for stroke, the Brunei Neuroscience, Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC). So it makes sense to finally develop a Brunei National Heart Centre as well, where cardiologists from the government could collocate here.”
Having received referrals from neighbouring cities, GJPMC is also aiming to develop into a tertiary referral centre and help Brunei become a major medical tourism destination in the region. “If we are able to develop into a centre of excellence for the region, we’ll be able to serve more patients from sur- rounding areas,” added Dr Tay.
The Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) is a healthcare specialist centre consisting of two centres of excellence – The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) and the Brunei Neuroscience Stroke & Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC). They also operate the Maxillofacial, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Centre (MFPRSC).
Previously known as the National Cancer Centre, The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) was first estab- lished in 2009.
TBCC provides a comprehensive therapeutic cancer service including chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy, radiotherapy and nuclear med- icine therapy.
Specialty oncology nurses provide specialist nursing care, counseling and support for patients and their families with specific types of cancer.
TBCC actively participates in clinical studies and international multicentre clinical trials, findings of which are presented regularly in International Oncology Conferences.
TBCC also participates in the teaching of undergrad- uate and postgraduate medical students from the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
Established in 2010, the Brunei Neuroscience Stroke & Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC) is the largest cen- tre of its kind in Southeast Asia.
It was founded and established on the back of extraordinary and unique telemedicine cooperation with an internationally-recognised German centre of excellence in neurology, neurorehabilitation and science – the Krankenhaus Nordwest.
BNSRC, accredited by the acting president of the World Stroke Organization, has saved hundreds of lives so far and is ready to welcome health tourists from the region and the world over.
The centre is equipped with an outstanding and highly specialised intensive care stroke unit, neu- ro-medical, neuro-surgical and neurorehabilitation units. It also provides comprehensive neurological checkups, consultations and healthy lifestyle advice, as well as outstanding rehabilitative programmes.
These programmes are complemented by robotic rehabilitation technology and other state-of-the-art equipment. All facilities are housed under one roof.
In addition to cancer treatment and neurorehabili- tation, BNSRC’s rehabilitation team also provides comprehensive rehabilitative programmes to sup- port the neighbouring JPMC, receiving referred patients with musculoskeletal/sports, orthopedics and women’s health issues.
Additionally, with the opening of the Hybrid OT com- plex, patients with neurological and neurosurgical cases can now be treated onsite, in contrast to pre- viously where they had to be sent overseas.
The centre has also performed several award-win- ning clinical and epidemiological studies on up to 5,000 participants, the results of which have made a great impact on raising awareness on stroke and its risk factors among the Brunei populace.
Opened to coincide with their free cancer screening clinic for the mouth, neck and skin of head and neck, the Maxillofacial, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Centre (MFPRSC) delivers state-of-the- art healthcare in the fields of maxillofacial, facial plastic, reconstructive surgery, and head and neck surgical oncology.
The centre also offers outpatient care, surgical and laser treatments, cranio-maxillofacial prosthetics and reconstructive implantology services. It also houses a 3-D printing laboratory.
MFPRSC also offers training courses such as the Advanced Training in Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Trauma, Advanced Diploma in Neuro/ Plastic/Cranio-Maxillofacial/Microvascular Surgical Nursing, Diploma for Operation Theatre Assistants, Nursing Student Affiliation, and Training; Internship and Observation for Medical, Dental and Nursing Students.
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