2021 marks the 200th anniversary of Singapore’s
oldest hospital, Singapore General Hospital. From caring only for British and
Indian soldiers who came with Stamford Raffles’ expedition, SGH evolved to
provide modern medical services to serve Singaporeans, touching the lives of
generations of staff, patients and Singaporeans.
Today, Singapore is often cited for its world class
healthcare system, where public hospitals provide superior quality of care that
is accessible to even the needy. SGH, as the Nation’s Hospital, is the fount
and keystone of medicine in Singapore. And we are determined to see that this
In 2021, we will take a few moments to celebrate this
milestone. It is also a time to reflect, to dream and to think ahead to the
next 200 years. All over the world, governments and healthcare systems are
trying to answer the question: What will Future Healthcare look like? In SGH,
we believe our future is firmly in our hands, and it is up to us to envision
and to build a system that will meet the needs of generations more to come.
The Japanese occupation forces took over the General Hospital for use by their troops in Southeast Asia.
However, the disruption from the war brought about a paradigm shift in the local medical community. With the expatriate doctors interned by the Japanese during the war, local doctors and staff assumed full responsibility in running the hospitals that continued to serve the locals. They proved themselves capable and became aware of the imperative need to unify the medical service with equal treatment of local and colonial doctors posted from Britain and India.
Just five years after gaining independence, Singapore was actively exploring avenues of economic development to ensure its sustainability. Initiatives were underway to make Singapore a liveable city, and healthcare systems and services had to keep pace with modern advances across the globe.
As the country was gripped by events like Konfrontasi, the Maria Hertogh riots, the Pulau Senang prison riot and the Hock Lee Bus protests, SGH continued to treat their respective victims.
SGH has undergone numerous transformations since its establishment nearly 200 years ago to keep up with the needs of Singaporeans. The iconic Bowyer Block, a National Monument in recognition of its national significance and rich history, is a standing reminder of how far we have come in advancing patient care.