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Tan Tock Seng Hospital (Abbreviation: TTSH) is one of Singapore’s largest multi-disciplinary hospitals. The hospital has 45 clinical and allied health departments, 16 specialist centres and is powered by more than 8,000 healthcare staff. TTSH sees over 2,000 patients at its specialist clinics and some 460 patients at its emergency department every day. TTSH is part of the National Healthcare Group.


Singapore was a successful trading centre. Large numbers of immigrants came, hoping to make their fortune here. The majority of immigrants were poor and destitute. Malnutrition was common and it was estimated that about 100 immigrants died each year from starvation.

The British government set up a pauper's hospital in the 1820s but it closed in the 1830s because of insufficient funds. The government then suggested that the better-off members of each community take care of their own poor. Subsequently, some of the more benevolent members of the community responded. One such person was Tan Tock Seng, the acting Kapitan China of Singapore, a successful businessman and the city's first Asian Justice of Peace, who offered $5,000 for the construction of Singapore's first privately funded hospital.[1]

The foundation stone of the hospital, then called Chinese Pauper Hospital, was laid on 25 May 1844 on Pearl's Hill.[1] The building was designed by John Turnbull Thomson in a classical style.[2] Construction took three years and a shortage of funds saw the hospital stand empty for two more years. Finally, the first batch of patients was admitted in 1849. About 100 sick and destitute people had been housed in an attap shed at the foot of Pearl's Hill when a fierce storm destroyed the shed, and the patients were then moved to the hospital.[1]

In the hospital's early years, money was a constant problem, alleviated from time to time by donations from various benefactors, including other members of Tan's family and the general public. A shortage of staff and no reliable water supply also made things difficult. Tan Tock Seng died in 1850 at the age of 52. Later on, the hospital's name was changed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The hospital was moved a couple of times. In 1861, it was relocated to new premises on the corner of Serangoon Road and Balestier Road as the colonial government wanted to fortified the Pearl;s Hill. A lepers' ward was also added. It was later decided that the low-lying ground on which the hospital stood was unsuitable for the patients, and in 1903, the land on Moulmein Road, where the present hospital stands, was bought with donation of $50,000 by Loke Yew. The new hospital was completed in 1909 by the Public Works Department.[1]

By the 1980s, the hospital's services and patient intake were beginning to outgrow the 1950s hospital building. A new 15-storey building was constructed and officially opened on 1 April 2000.

As a result of a restructuring exercise in the local health-care scene, the hospital became a member of the National Healthcare Group in 2000.

The hospital claims to have been as a pioneer in the development of Geriatric Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Rehabilitation Medicine, Respiratory Medicine and Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology. It is also a major referral centre for Geriatric Medicine, General Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Diagnostic Radiology, Gastroenterology, Otorhinolaryngology and Orthopedic surgery.Template:Cn

In 2003, the hospital was declared the designated hospital for SARS screening and treatment by the Ministry of Health due to its past experience with communicable diseases (the Communicable Disease Centre was located nearby) and was "effectively locked down" to contain the outbreak, which began with Esther Mok.[3] At the lobby of the hospital, a memorial plaque was dedicated in memory of the hospital's doctors and healthcare workers, two of whom died of the disease, who worked tirelessly during the SARS epidemic and Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong paid tribute to the hospital's staff.[3][4][5]


In 2016 the cost of a bed in a four-bed acute ward was $225 a night. A single room was $420 a night.[6]

Clinical and Allied Health Services[]

Division of Ambulatory & Diagnostic Medicine

  • Diagnostic Radiology
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Oncology Services
  • Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Division of Medicine

  • Cardiology
  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • General medicine
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Infectious diseases
  • Psychological Medicine
  • Palliative Medicine
  • Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology

Division of Surgery

  • Anaesthesiology
  • General surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)
  • Urology

Clinical Support Services

  • Complementary Integrative Medicine
  • Nutrition & Dietetics
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (Blood Transfusion, Haematology, Clinical chemistry, Anatomical pathology & Clinical microbiology)
  • Pharmacies (Outpatient, Inpatient & Retail)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Prosthetics & Orthotics
  • Psychological Services
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Travellers' Health & Vaccination Centre
  • Vascular Diagnostic Laboratory

TTSH Heritage Museum[]

The Tan Tock Seng Hospital Heritage Museum opened its doors on 25 July 2001. Honouring the legacy of its founder Mr Tan Tock Seng, the museum features a collection of Peranakan items from the mid-19th century, during Mr Tan's time.

The TTSH Heritage Museum is a member of the National Heritage Board's Museum Roundtable.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite book
  3. 3.0 3.1 Template:Cite news
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  • National Heritage Board (2002), Singapore's 100 Historic Places, Archipelago Press, Template:ISBN


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