SINGAPORE'S only colonial-style hospital, Alexandra Hospital, closed its doors to patients yesterday to undergo renovation works.
Its last 19 patients were taken by ambulances yesterday afternoon to the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) in Jurong, which opens officially today.
But those who are fond of Alexandra Hospital's colonial-era facade and its luxurious garden with 500 plant species and over 100 butterfly species, need not fret.
It will reopen and take in patients in the third quarter of this year, and be run by the team behind the upcoming Sengkang General Hospital.
That team will move to the new hospital in 2018.
Alexandra Hospital will then become the second campus of the National University Health System, which is less than 4km away.
A Ministry of Health (MOH) spokesman told The Straits Times that it plans to maintain Alexandra Hospital's "healthcare heritage while intensifying land use".
The ministry has called a tender for a masterplan and feasibility study on the longer-term use for the site. This will take a year or more to complete.
Alexandra Hospital, which sits on a sprawling 110,000 sq m site, dates back to 1938 when it was called the British Military Hospital.
It got its current name in 1971 when the British withdrew from Singapore and handed the hospital over to the Government.
The hospital had given its last patients the option of going to any public hospital. But all chose to stick with their current team of carers, who moved to the new hospital in Jurong.
Seventeen of the patients spent last night in the new wards at NTFGH.
The remaining two were moved to the Jurong Community Hospital, which will be using two of NTFGH's wardsuntil its own adjoining building is ready.
Mr Atan Bidin, 77, a respiratory patient, was the first to be transferred from Alexandra Hospital to NTFGH.
He said: "I like it here very much because of the windows and bigger space. The air is fresher. It is very breezy.
"The doctors and nurses have been very nice. I like the view and I am very happy to be here."
His son, Mr Abdul Shariff Atan, 55, who lives in nearby Boon Lay, said: "It's definitely a better hospital that is accessible and easy to find with the MRT nearby."
Although NTFGH received its first inpatients from Alexandra Hospital yesterday, it will see the first patients at its clinics and Accident & Emergency department only from 8.30am today.