Mount Elizabeth Hospital to undergo renovation and upgrades, add more single rooms

The renovation at Mount Elizabeth Hospital will take place in phases so that major clinical services can continue. PHOTO: PARKWAY LIFE REIT

SINGAPORE - Mount Elizabeth Hospital, a private healthcare facility that opened in Orchard in 1979, will undergo its first major refurbishment as well as add 50 per cent more single rooms to meet strong local and international demand, the hospital’s owner, IHH Healthcare Singapore, said on Tuesday.

Mount Elizabeth Hospital, one of four hospitals under IHH Healthcare Singapore, currently has 345 beds, including 112 in single rooms. As it adds another 56 single rooms, it will remove all two-bedded rooms, which will leave it with an overall capacity of 246 beds.

It held a wall-breaking ceremony on Tuesday to mark the start of the $350 million retrofitting project it has named “Renaissance”. The project, which will take three years to conclude, is partly funded by Parkway Life Reit, said IHH Healthcare Singapore.

The renovation will take place in phases so that major clinical services can continue. To minimise disruptions, services may be temporarily relocated to other parts of the building or, where necessary, decanted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital’s sister hospitals under IHH Healthcare Singapore, it said. Noisy work will be limited to specific timings.

Talks about the retrofitting project started in 2017, but it was delayed due to Covid-19, said Mr Yong Yih Ming, chief executive of Mount Elizabeth Hospital, at the wall-breaking ceremony. More single rooms are being added because of the tremendous increase in demand for them in the past few years, he said.

“Singaporeans have their financial plans, and they have their riders, so they are able to afford single rooms; whereas in the past, four-bedders and two-bedders saw higher demand,” said Mr Yong.

“There is very little need for two- or four-bedders over time because some of these (rooms) can be provided at government hospitals. So we are also evolving... to be able to provide the privacy and the kind of experience that our patients really want.”

Before the pandemic, some 30 per cent to 40 per cent of Mount Elizabeth Hospital’s patients came from overseas, said Mr Yong. This number is now at 20 per cent, but the hospital expects it to rise.

The hospital’s public-facing areas will be refreshed. There will be a new drop-off point and lobby. On top of equipment and technology upgrades, significant infrastructure improvements will be made to the mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems in compliance with the latest building codes and fire safety regulations, said Mr Yong.

“More importantly, the hospital’s clinical assets and backroom will be significantly redesigned around the needs of our patients and staff while ensuring better connectivity, safety and privacy,” he said.

“Expansions to our emergency department and many of our inpatient and outpatient treatment centres, as well as improvements to our ward configurations, will be carried out for better workflow, comfort and overall patient experience.”

Project Renaissance will also launch the Mount Elizabeth Hospital Campus Masterplan, under which certain healthcare services will be moved to adjacent buildings in the vicinity. For example, Mount Elizabeth Fertility Centre and Haematology and Stem Cell Transplant Centre will be relocated to The Heeren in the second quarter of 2023.

These centres typically require less clinical support from the hospital and can be relocated to allow consolidation and expansion of inpatient hospital-based clinical services. Mr Yong added that this would allow patients to seek treatment in a non-hospital setting.

Dr Prem Kumar Nair, CEO of IHH Healthcare Singapore, said: “For over 40 years, Mount Elizabeth Hospital has provided top-notch care to our patients. Project Renaissance aims to ensure that we are well placed to continue providing this level of care, with state-of-the-art facilities and expanded services once the renovations are complete.”

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