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.
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 2001.5 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
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
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
Naidu Ratnala Thulaja
1. Yeow Pei Lin, “RMG, Pidemco Pair Up for $200M Project,” Straits Times, 13 September 1997, 67. (From NewspaperSG)
2. Yeow, “RMG, Pidemco Pair Up for $200M Project.”
3. Yeow, “RMG, Pidemco Pair Up for $200M Project”; Koh Boon Pin, “Goodbye to Good Buys at Blanco Court,” Straits Times, 18 September 1997, 47. (From NewspaperSG)
4. Chee Jann Perng, “Raffles Places Out 24.5M New Shares,” Straits Times, 17 October 1998, 82. (From NewspaperSG)
5. Arthur Sim, “Recover Inn Style,” Straits Times, 7 April 2001, L6. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Susan Long, “Health-Care Cost Must Remain Affordable to S’poreans,” Straits Times, 17 March 2002, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
7. Sim, “Recover Inn Style.”
8. Sim, “Recover Inn Style.”
9. Sim, “Recover Inn Style.”
10. “Raffles Hospital,” Raffles Medical Group, accessed 12 September 2020.
11. Dominic Nathan, “In the End, It Was Not to Be,” Straits Times, 9 July 2003, 1; Sharon Loh, “Bijani Twins’ Chance of Survival: 1 in 6,” Straits Times, 30 September 2003, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
12. “Nepalese Twins Awake, But Ganga Still Sleepy,” Today, 18 April 2001, 4. (From NewpaperSG)
13. Lee Hui Chieh, “Korean Twins Discharged,” Straits Times, 19 August 2003, 2; “Twins’ Separate Lives Off to Good Start,” Straits Times, 30 July 2003, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
14. “Top Healthcare,” Today, 24 April 2014, 48. (From NewspaperSG)
15. Claire Huang, “Raffles Hospital to Receive Non-Critical Patients Sent by SCDF,” Business Times, 2 December 2014, 4 (From NewspaperSG); Felicia Choo, “Raffles Hospital to Add More Beds with Opening of New Specialist Centre,” Straits Times, 12 March 2019.
The information in this article is valid as of 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.