THE new Jurong General Hospital and Jurong community Hospital, which broke ground on Tuesday morning, face a $1 billion challenge.

Health Minister Khaw Boon want threw down this gauntlet to the hospital leaders and providers: Make the hospital operation a hassle-free experience for patients - even after their discharge.

Mr Khaw, who officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony, said: 'My vision is for a 'hassle-free health service' where providers coordinate and integrate their care for their patients in a seamless manner, even though they work for different employers and may not even know one another.

'I know this is a tall order. But we should strive to achieve it as it will mean tremendous benefits for the patients.'

Mr Khaw added that the Jurong General Hospital team wouldn't be alone in striving to provide a hassle-free health service - he also challenged the newly-opened Khoo Teck Puat hospital, to 'compete to deliver this vision'.

'The older hospitals too are working on similar ideas for their respective regions,' he said, but he acknowledged that they had a slight disadvantage due to having to deal with old 'traditions and legacies'.

Mr Khaw also said the government is 'investing heavily' in the Jurong hospital projects, with a capital expenditure budget of nearly $1 billion.

'This is a very heavy investment on the part of the Government and has not even factored in land cost,' he said.

'It reflects our commitment to raising the healthcare service standard for Singaporeans.'

'Provide hassle-free service'