Raffles Hospital

by Thulaja, Naidu Ratnala

Jointly owned by Raffles Medical Group and Pidemco Land,1 Raffles Hospital was officially opened on 16 March 2002 as the second largest private general hospital in Singapore. The hospital has made news for some of its pioneering surgeries on Siamese twins.

History
On 12 September 1997, healthcare provider Raffles Medical Group and Pidemco Land, a government-linked enterprise, formed a joint-venture company, Pidemco-Raffles Properties, to convert Blanco Court into the second-largest private general hospital in Singapore.2


Blanco Court was an office-and-shopping block situated near the Bugis Mass Rapid Transit Station. The project cost S$200 million, of which S$110 million was used to acquire Blanco Court and S$90 million to refurbish the building.3 To raise money for the project, SESDAQ-listed Raffles Medical Group issued 24.5 million new shares at S$0.49 each in 1998.4

Raffles Hospital started taking in patients from 31 March 2001.It was officially opened on 16 March 2002 by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.6

Description and facilities
The hospital comprises 540,000 sq ft of floor space over 13 floors. A retrofitted building, it has retained the main superstructure of its predecessor, Blanco Court.7


The lobby features huge granite columns and a cascading water feature. The entire building is designed around the central courtyard on the eighth floor, which has a pond, as well as a bamboo and palm grove. The corridors, all 2.2 metres wide, look into the courtyard, which allows light to flood into the rooms. The hospital also houses a meditation room and is adorned with many art pieces. The car park comprises the building’s third to sixth floors.8

Each bedroom is fitted with a sofa bed and writing desk. Designed to provide soothing comfort, the bedroom walls are lined with laminate in honey tones of maple. The headrests in the rooms double as places to store drips and tubes when not in use, thus making the rooms look more hotel-like. In addition, the toilets are handicap-friendly with a ramp at the entrance instead of a step.9

The hospital offers 24-hour emergency services, family medicine and health screening services, as well as a wide range of multi-disciplinary specialist clinics.10

High-profile surgeries
One of Raffles Hospital’s landmark surgeries is the separation of adult Siamese twins. In July 2003, the hospital appeared in the news worldwide for its attempt to separate two conjoined adult Iranian twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani. The twins, however, died on 8 July 2003 due to profuse blood loss. The surgery was led by Dr Keith Goh, then a consultant neurosurgeon at the hospital.11 Goh had successfully separated Nepalese twin babies conjoined at the head, Ganga and Jamuna, in April 2001 at the Singapore General Hospital.12


In July 2003, Raffles Hospital won recognition for the successful separation of South Korean twins, Min Ji Hye and Min Sa Rang, who were born joined at the lower back.13

Selected milestones
The hospital was named the top healthcare provider in Singapore in 2013 according to the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore survey administered by the Singapore Management University’s Institute of Service Excellence.14

Expansion plans and refurbishment works were also carried out. For instance in 2014, it was announced that a new extension housing a new medical centre with specialist and family clinics, day-surgery suites and diagnostic services would be added to the hospital. In 2019, plans to increase the number of beds in the wards were announced.15



Author
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja




References
1. Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m projectThe Straits Times, p. 67. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

2. Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m projectThe Straits Times, p. 67. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Yeow, P. L. (1997, September 13). RMG, Pidemco pair up for $200m projectThe Straits Times, p. 67; Koh, B. P. (1997, September 18). Goodbye to good buys at Blanco CourtThe Straits Times, p. 47. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Chee, J. P. (1998, October 17). Raffles places out 24.5m new sharesThe Straits Times, p. 82. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn styleThe Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Long, S. (2002, March 17). Health-care cost must remain affordable to S’poreansThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn styleThe Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn styleThe Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Sim, A. (2001, April 7). Recover inn styleThe Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Raffles Medical Group. (2020). Raffles Hospital. Retrieved 2020, September 12 from Raffles Medical Group website: https://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/services/hospital/
11. Nathan, D. (2003, July 9). In the end, it was not to beThe Straits Times, p. 1; Loh, S. (2003, September 30). Bijani twins’ chance of survival: 1 in 6The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Nepalese twins awake, but Ganga still sleepy. (2001, April 18). Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewpaperSG.
13. Lee, H. C. (2003, August 19). Korean twins dischargedThe Straits Times, p. 2; Twins’ separate lives off to good start. (2003, July 30). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Top healthcare. (2014, April 24). TODAY, p. 48. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Huang, C. (2014, December 2). Raffles Hospital to receive non-critical patients sent by SCDF. The Business Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Choo, F. (2019, March 12). Raffles Hospital to add more beds with opening of new specialist centre. Retrieved from The Straits Times website: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/raffles-hospital-to-add-more-beds-with-opening-of-new-specialist-centre



The information in this article is valid as at October 2020 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Singapore--History--1990-
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Public Buildings
Public health
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Health and medicine>>Health services
Politics and Government>>Health
Hospitals--Singapore
Public buildings
Hospitals, Proprietary--Singapore