Medical Care in Singapore
Singapore as a regional centre of medical excellence
Healthcare facilities in Singapore are widely recognized as the best in Southeast Asia. In a bid to continuously improve its medical expertise, both the Singaporean government and private hospitals have teamed up with reputable medical institutions such as John Hopkins University Hospital, Pennsylvania University Medical Center, Stanford University Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Kaiser Permanente to pursue further breakthroughs in medical research and development. Over the years, Singapore has achieved a healthcare service level comparable to those of the developed countries.
Besides world-class healthcare, Singapore has developed strong local capabilities in complex procedures such as organ transplant, assisted reproduction, limb reattachment and joint replacement. At the same time, new medical treatment methods such as the use of laser technology are constantly being introduced and tested.
Why choose medical care in Singapore?
The services provided by Singapore's public and private hospitals are highly regarded by nationals and expatriates residing in neighbouring countries. Their facilities are equipped with the latest medical equipment to maintain a high standard of medical service. Major hospitals in Singapore are recognized as benchmarks for healthcare delivery standards in the region and as such have built Singapore's reputation as a medical center of excellence.
As such, Singapore maintains its position as a regional centre for medical care, especially among customers in Southeast Asia. Its excellent healthcare facilities have attracted international patients from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and India who seek quality medical care that is not available in their countries of residence.
To summarize, patients are traveling to Singapore because of:
- Professionalism: Singaporean hospitals are regularly inspected and our doctors are regularly audited.
- A well-managed healthcare system.
- Personalised services offered by the International Patients Centre.
- Consistency: patients are assured that the quality and reliability they experience will continue even after surgery.
- Top-notch medical expertise.
- Advanced technology enabling cutting-edge procedures.
- Safety: Singapore’s Centre for Transfusion Medicine is internationally reputed for its high standards of blood safety practices and management of blood transfusion services. It is also recognized as a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre.
- Cultural and language diversity: this serves to better accomodate the non-medical needs of international patients.
Healthcare practice in Singapore
The Ministry of Health (MOH) regulates the standard and practice of healthcare services. It manages the five professional boards governing the medical conduct and ethics of Singaporean medical professionals, which are the Singapore Medical Council, Singapore Nursing Board, Singapore Dental Board, Pharmacy Board and Laboratory Board. All private hospitals, medical clinics, clinical laboratories and nursing homes are required to maintain a good standard of medical services through licensing by MOH.
Singapore's well-established healthcare system consists of an assortment of private hospitals, restructured (government) hospitals and several specialty clinics, each specializing in and catering to different patient needs at varying costs.
Government hospitals provide acute care services with multi-disciplinary inpatient and specialist outpatient services, as well as 24-hour accident and emergency services. In addition, there are 6 specialty institutes for ophthalmology, dermatology, oncology, cardiology, neuroscience and dentistry. Tertiary specialist care in fields such as cardiology, renal medicine, haematology, neurology, oncology, radiotherapy, plastic and reconstructive surgery, paediatric surgery, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery and transplant surgery are typically centralised in the larger general hospitals.
Some hospitals provide specialty functions such as maternity, mental, infectious and sub-acute care services. Private hospitals have similar specialist disciplines and comparable facilities as the restructured hospitals.
Raffles Medical Group is the leading integrated healthcare provider in Asia. Raffles Medical Group owns the country's largest network of private general practice clinics as well as Raffles Hospital. Located in the heart of Singapore, it is a tertiary hospital offering a wide range of specialist services. The Raffles Specialist Centre is organised into various specialty clinics with services ranging from prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases and medical conditions to aesthetic procedures such as photorejuvenation and cosmetic surgery.
Out of the more than 5,000 doctors in practice, about 42% of them are trained specialists with postgraduate medical degrees and advanced specialty residencies. Singaporean doctors are roughly evenly distributed between the public and private sector. Doctors in the public sector are provided with continuing education under the Health Manpower Development Program for postgraduate training and practical attachment at overseas centers of international recognition. Under the same program, nurses are awarded fellowships for overseas training in education, administration and clinical specialities.
There are 942 dentists, giving a ratio of 1 dentist to 4,130 citizens. About 77% of the dentists have private practices. The nurse to population ratio is approximately 1:244, with a total of about 15,947 nurses. 55% of all nurses work in the public sector.
Due to its strategic location, Singapore is the primary destination for medical evacuations in the region for four major emergency assistance companies: International SOS (AEA), World Access (Asia), WorldWide Assistance (Singapore), and AXA Assistance.
Foreigners giving birth in Singapore
Singapore is a popular destination for many expatriate women living in neighbouring countries for delivery of their children. The Singapore Immigration and Registration office has a well-established policy for these visitors. Below is a step-by-step guide for foreign expectant mothers who wish to give birth in Singapore:
Application for permission to deliver in Singapore
- The expectant mother must apply to the Singapore Immigration and Registration (SIR) office for permission to deliver in Singapore through a local sponsor before her arrival.
- The local sponsor, who must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident, should produce the following documents upon application:
- a copy (original) of completed Form 14, Form V39 and Form IMME 555 (the forms and explanatory notes can be found at the Immigration & Checkpoint Authority's website). Every person looking to enter Singapore (including children) has to complete a set of these forms.
- Applicant's marriage certificate (original and photocopy).
- Local sponsor's identity card or valid re-entry permit.
- Letter from a medical officer stating applicant's expected date of delivery and whether there are any expected complications in the pregnancy.
- Letter from the expectant mother's country's Embassy or High Commission stating that her newborn child will follow the parent's nationality and a valid travel document of that country will be issued to the newborn child.
- Applicant's valid travel document.
- A financial security deposit, furnished by the local sponsor upon approval. Amounts range between $1000 - $5000 SGD depending on the applicant's nationality.
Registration of birth
- Once the child is born, its birth should be registered with the
Birth Registration Centre at one of the following locations:
- PR Services Centre, 5th Floor, SIR Building, 10 Kallang Road, Singapore 208718 Tel. (65) 6391-6100
- Raffles Hospital
- KK Women's & Children's Hospital
- East Shore Hospital
- Gleneagles Hospital
- Mt Alvernia Hospital
- Mt Elizabeth Hospital
- National University Hospital
- Singapore General Hospital
- Thomson Medical Centre
Note 1: For births in other hospitals, the baby's birth has to be registered at the PR Services Centre within the ICA building.
Note 2: For children not born in hospitals, the mother must obtain a Notification of Live Birth from the doctors/midwife/ambulance staff who delivered the baby.
- Birth registration must be done within 14-42 days from the date of birth. If registration is done after 42 days, a letter of explanation stating the reason for late registration must be submitted for the Registrar General's approval. After approval has been given, the birth will be registered and a Birth Certificate will be issued.
- The following documents are required to be present at the time of birth registration:
- Notification of Live Birth, as issued by a hospital or delivering authority.
- Both parents' Identity Cards (if Singapore residents).
- An original marriage certificate.
- Both parents' passports, entry permits and embarkation/disembarkation cards issued by Immigration Department (if foreigners).
- A letter of authorisation from the parents of the child (if someone else registers the birth on behalf of the parents)
- A fee of $18.00 SGD is payable for birth registration. Some hospitals may charge an additional administrative fee.
- The child's name
- Ethnic characters of the child's name in Chinese/Jawi/Tamil can be included in the Birth Certificate. This is optional but parents/informants are responsible for the accuracy of characters furnished.
- For Chinese children given a name in full Hanyu Pinyin version, the Chinese characters of his name must be reflected in the birth certificate.
Maternity care before and after delivery in Singapore
In Singapore, there are several hospitals that offer excellent maternity care. Costs varies depending on the gynaecologist, room type selected, mode of delivery and duration of the stay.
For more information, see the page on Having a Baby in Singapore.
If you have any further questions about medical concerns in Indonesia, see the Ask the Experts.
We trust this information will assist you in making correct choices regarding your health and welfare. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for personalized advice from your medical adviser.