Changi General Hospital

Changi General Hospital (CGH), located in Simei, serves the residents living in eastern and northeastern Singapore. Pitched as the first purpose-built regional hospital, CGH was formed through an amalgamation of Changi Hospital and the former Toa Payoh Hospital on Thomson Road. It was officially opened on 28 March 1998, although its history had begun as early as 1935.1

The history of Changi Hospital can be traced back to 1935 when the hospital was built off Loyang Avenue to serve as a Royal Air Force (RAF) hospital for the British Far East Air Force.

The hospital went through a series of name changes under different administrations. After it was handed over to the newly formed Commonwealth forces of the Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK), it was known as the ANZUK Hospital. Upon the disbanding of ANZUK, the hospital became the UK Military Hospital.3

In August 1974, a former British officers’ club on Halton Road was converted into the Changi Chalet Hospital at a cost of S$1.2 million.4 It became operational in January 1975, with 36 beds, one operating theatre, an x-ray and laboratory facility and an emergency unit. Its function was to cater to the minor emergency needs of holidaymakers. The x-ray and laboratory facilities also serviced the needs of patients from Changi Prison Hospital and the polyclinics on Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin.5

In December 1975, as British troops were completing their withdrawal from the region, the UK Military Hospital was handed over to the Singapore government. The hospital was renamed the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Hospital and provided free medical care to SAF personnel and their families. Gradually, services such as accident and emergency treatment, general surgery, general medicine and dental surgery were extended to the public for fees similar to those charged by other government hospitals.6

On 1 July 1976, the SAF Hospital was handed over to the Ministry of Health to form Changi Hospital. The SAF Hospital and Chalet Hospital buildings were renamed Upper Block and Lower Block respectively.7

In December 1996, parts of the New Changi Hospital opened its doors to the public.8 Located on a 5.2-hectare site at the junction of Simei Ave and Simei Street 3, the hospital was built to replace the Toa Payoh and Changi hospitals, as the former was to be turned into a community hospital and the site of Changi Hospital would be converted into recreational space.9

Opening of Changi General Hospital (CGH)
CGH, renamed from New Changi Hospital, was officially opened on 28 March 1998 by then Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.10 Boasting 23 wards with 801 beds, ultra-modern facilities11 and a staff of 200 doctors and 800 nurses,12 CGH became Singapore’s first purpose-built regional hospital, serving communities in the east and northeast regions.13 Today, CGH has over 1,000 beds serving a community of more than one million people.14

Facilities and services
In 2000, CGH became part of the Singapore Health Services (SingHealth) cluster of healthcare institutions.15 On 17 July 2001, the hospital launched Singapore’s first online hospital pharmacy, myPharmacy (, to provide 24-hour access for users to purchase homecare and retail medical products.16

Changi Sports Medicine Centre, the largest multidisciplinary sports medicine centre in Singapore, was officially opened in CGH on 12 September 2003. It provides recreational and competitive athletes with sports medicine care. In 2011, the centre led the Exercise is Medicine Singapore (EIMS) programme that aims to make physical activity and exercise a standard part of preventing and treating diseases.17

The International Medical Services Centre which aims to provide treatment to international patients was officially opened in August 2007.18 In 2012, CGH partnered with grassroots organisations to roll out the community-based chronic disease prevention programme Eastern Community Health Outreach (ECHO) for residents in the eastern region.19

In 2005, a linked walkway was opened to connect CGH to the neighbouring St Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH), providing seamless patient transfers between both hospitals.20  In 2015, The Integrated Building, jointly managed by CGH and SACH, was officially opened. The 280-bed building houses nine wards and provides rehabilitation facilities and services to prepare patients for their transition back to home after hospitalisation.21

Nor-Afidah Rahman & Phyllis Wee

1. “Our Heritage,” Changi General Hospital, accessed 24 August 2018.  
2. “From Anzuk, UK Military to Plain Old Changi,” Straits Times, 29 January 1997, 2; “Farewell Bird Songs and Barbeque Smells,” Straits Times, 29 January 1997, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
3. Changi General Hospital, “Our Heritage.”  
4. “From Anzuk, UK Military to Plain Old Changi.”
5. Changi General Hospital, “Our Heritage.” 
6. “SAF to Take Over UK Hospital in Changi,” Straits Times, 27 April 1975, 8; “From Anzuk, UK Military to Plain Old Changi”; Changi General Hospital, “Our Heritage.” 
7. Changi Hospital (Singapore), Annual Report 1976 (Singapore: Changig Hospital, 1977), 1 (Call no. RSING 362.11095957 CHAR-[AR]); “From Anzuk, UK Military to Plain Old Changi.”
8. Toa Payoh Hospital and New Changi Hospital, Rising to the Challenge: A Story of Commitment, Determination and Building on a Vision 1959–1999 (Singapore: Changi General Hospital, 2000), 56. (Call no. RSING 362.11095957 RIS)
9. “Farewell Bird Songs and Barbeque Smells.”
10. “Use Your Regional Hospital,” Straits Times, 29 March 1998, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
11. “Farewell Bird Songs and Barbeque Smells.”
12. Allison Lim, “Hospital Plans Some Neighbourly Ventures,” Straits Times, 5 December 1996, 36. (From NewspaperSG)
13. Changi General Hospital, “Our Heritage.” 
14. “Hospital Overview” Changi General Hospital, accessed 24 August 2018.
15. “Milestones,” Changi General Hospital, accessed 24 August 2018.
16. Chua Hian Hou, “Pharmacy Online,” Straits Times, 25 July 2001, 8 (From NewspaperSG); Changi General Hospital, “Milestones.”
17. “Our Centre & Facilities,” Changi General Hospital, accessed 24 August 2018; Changi General Hospital, “Milestones.”
18. Jessica Jaganathan, “Public Hospitals Seeing Rising Numbers of Foreign Patients,” Straits Times, 20 August 2007, 31 (From NewspaperSG)
19. “About ECHO,” SingHealth, accessed 24 August 2018.
20. Estelle Chan, “New Premises, More Facilities for Old-World Hospital,” Straits Times, 9 February 2005, 3. (From NewspaperSG)
21. Changi General Hospital, “The CGH-SACH Integrated Building is Officially Opened by President Tony Tan Keng Yam,” press release, 23 July 2015.  

The information in this article is valid as at 28 September 2018 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 theLibrary for further reading materials on the topic.

Public health