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Choosing a hospital in Singapore ?

Singapore Residents

If you are a Singapore resident (citizens and permanent residents), you enjoy certain subsidies when you seek treatment in a government hospital. You can also choose to be a "private" or paying patient in a government hospital. What does that mean? Paying patients cannot choose the lower-priced wards, which means that you may pay a lot more than subsidized patients. However, you get to choose a specific specialist doctor for consultation and treatment.

To qualify as a subsidised patient, you generally have to be referred to the hospital by a polyclinic doctor. One of the down sides is that you do not have a choice of which doctor you get to see. Your doctor may be a Medical Officer who is a trainee who hopes to become a specialist, or if you are lucky you might just get a Consultant-grade specialist who has a lot more experience. It is not unusual to have a new doctor seeing you when you go back for your review as the previous doctor might have been transfered, promoted, or sent abroad for further training.

In order of size, the general hospitals are:

(1) SGH - Singapore General Hospital (Outram Park) - SGH is centrally located at Outram Park and is served by 2 MRT lines as well as a large number of bus services. It provides a free shuttle service from the train and bus stops to the actual hospital buildings located on a small hill. SGH is the most comprehensive hospital and large crowds are expect in most waiting areas. Waiting times may also be longer depending on the specialty.

(2) NUH - National University Hospital (Kent Ridge) - Some have the impression that they might get attended to by inexperienced medical students instead of "real" doctors in NUH simply because it is located next to the NUS medical school. The truth is that NUS medical students are sent to all the major government hospitals for training. So there is no real way of avoiding an encounter with them unless you are a private patient.

(3) Tan Tock Seng Hospital (Novena)

(4) CGH - Changi General Hospital (Tampines)

(5) KKH -
Kandang Kerbau Hospital (Farrer Park) - KKH is not a general hospital but a maternity hospital. You may see some other specialists listed on their directory but many are "visiting" specialists, meaning that they are not permanently based here.


As a non-resident, you will be classifed a "paying" patient in a government hospital. You should find out if the kind of fees you are paying is similar to what the private hospitals are charging. Duration of stay in Singapore is also a major factor in your choice. If you are flying into Singapore and staying for only a short time, only the private hospitals will be able to squeeze you into their schedule for consultation or surgery.

If you have decided to choose a private hospital, these are the biggest in terms of number of specialists:

(1) Mount Elizabeth Hospital - Probably the most well known and located in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping belt, "Mount E" is the number 1 hospital with about 1000 specialist operating out of its medical centre tower. The lobby area always seem to be packed with human traffic and a long queue of taxis is almost a permanent fixture at it main entrance. The hospital should not be confused with the new hospital in Novena which adopted the same name.

(2) Gleneagles Hospital - This is Mt Elizabeth's sister hospital located at Napier Road, right next to the Botanic Gardens. The nearest shopping centre is Tanglin Mall, a 10 minute walk away. The American embassy is across the road facing the hospital.

(3) Mount Alvernia Hospital - Founded by the Catholic mission Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood in the 1950s, Mt Alvernia has grown from a small hospital run by nuns to a 300-bed general acute care centre. The hospital is not in the city centre and is not accessible by underground train services. Parking is also limited so taxis may be the best choice for getting there.

(4) Raffles Hospital - Located near Bugis Junction, Raffles Hospital is the flagship of public-listed Raffles Medical Group. The group also runs a chain of more than 70 outpatient clinics in housing estates, shopping malls, the business district as well at the airport.

Other centres include Thomson Medical ,which houses numerous obstetricians and boasts a high number of baby deliveries every year, East Shore Hospital and Camden Medical Centre. Camden is a collection of medical suites but does not have hospital wards. Patients are often sent to nearby Gleneagles for surgery and hospitalisation. There are several other shopping malls which have also jumped into the medical suites bandwagon, such as Paragon and Lucky Plaza, capitalising on their proximity to Mount Elizabeth.

See comprehensive list of hospitals in Singapore .>