SINGAPORE - Raffles Hospital will have more beds for patients, with the opening of a 22-storey Raffles Specialist Centre in North Bridge Road.
The number of beds for patients receiving subsidised treatments, at rates similar to what public hospitals charge, will be doubled to 63.
The centre, which is linked to Raffles Hospital, consolidates 16 outpatient specialist clinics in the new building, with two new additions - the breast and vascular intervention centres.
The remaining 10 specialist centres are located in the refurbished hospital. All specialist centres were previously located in the hospital.
With the freed-up space, levels 10 and 13 in the hospital have been converted into wards.
At the official opening on Tuesday (March 12), Dr Loo Choon Yong, the executive chairman and co-founder of Raffles Medical Group, said the centre, which has been open since January 2018, represents a 70 per cent increase in floor area.
The project, which included refurbishment works to the hospital, cost the group $300 million and will allow Raffles Hospital to gradually increase the number of beds from 180 to 307.
The decision to build a new wing came about as the hospital was facing space constraints in 2010.
The group also wanted to invest in new technology to serve patients more comprehensively, said Dr Loo.
In the next few months, the hospital will offer radiotherapy services, robotic surgery and hybrid operating theatres with scanners to better locate tumours.
At the event on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that as the healthcare needs of Singaporeans rise, the collaboration between the public and private healthcare sectors will become more important.
"It's (the partnership) a very important way in which we can make sure that quality healthcare is accessible to Singaporeans and at a reasonable cost," he said.
He added that the private sector has "a duty of care" to Singaporeans to ensure that the care it delivers is "appropriate and at a reasonable cost".
The group said the new Ward 13 is for patients under the Ministry of Health's Emergency Care Collaboration scheme.
Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulances have sent patients who need emergency care to Raffles Hospital for subsidised treatments since 2015.
These patients receive medical treatment at subsidised rates, similar to public hospital rates.
More than 10,000 patients have benefited from this collaboration, as of last year.
Ward 10 now consists of 64 beds for private patients, including a new $5,888 a night presidential suite, 43 suites priced at $888 and upwards a night, and four-bedded and two-bedded rooms.
The group announced at the event that it will be donating $50,000 to four charities - the Ling Kwang Home for Senior Citizens, Moral Home for the Aged Sick, Sree Narayana Mission Home and The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.