National University Hospital

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The National University Hospital (NUH) at Kent Ridge is a tertiary referral hospital in Singapore. It is a 1,160-bed tertiary hospital that serves over 670,000 outpatients and 49,000 inpatients and acts as a clinical teaching and research center for the National University of Singapore’s medical and dentistry faculties (NUS).

NUH is the National University Health System’s flagship hospital and the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine’s primary teaching hospital. Three national speciality centers are located on its campus: the National University Cancer Institute (NCIS), the National University Heart Centre (NUHCS), and the National University Centre for Oral Health (NUCOH) (NUCOHS).


According to its proposal from 1972, NUH was originally known as the Kent Ridge Hospital, with a second plan drawn in 1975 by the then-University of Singapore Development Unit, when the hospital was planned at the Kent Ridge area, which cost $193 million to build, with an initial projection of 752 beds and a cost of $143 million. Construction on the project started in 1980 and was finished by the end of 1984. Temasek Holdings owned and administered NUH, which was the first privately run, government-owned hospital.

On the same day as Kent Ridge Hospital was renamed to NUH, NUH welcomed its new employees and opened to the public, receiving its first patients on June 24, 1985, with the opening of two departments, the Department of Medicine and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. On June 17, 1986, Goh Chok Tong, then-First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, formally inaugurated the hospital. Clinical training for NUS students was conducted at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) prior to its establishment, until the university’s medical school relocated to the new NUS campus at Kent Ridge in 1986.

Temasek Holdings, a government investment holding company, used to own the hospital. In 1987, it was transferred to the Ministry of Health’s Health Corporation of Singapore (HCS). The government chose to pass over the hospital’s management to the National University of Singapore in 1990. (NUS). This was in line with the government’s plan to become NUH Singapore’s primary medical teaching institution. The government opted to make highly specialized units accessible at just two locations, SGH and NUH, to minimize duplication of services. Only general speciality departments were to be housed at the other hospitals. Because NUH was too huge a financial enterprise to be transferred in one fell swoop, the hospital was restored to Temasek Holdings before being phased into NUS. At a cost of S$100 million, the hospital built a 200-bed, seven-story tower ward building, eight operating theatres, and critical care units to a 3.2-hectare site.

In August 2004, NUH received the Joint Commission International (JCI) certification, as well as the Singapore Service Class distinction. It was also awarded three ISO certifications:

Minister for Health Khaw Boon Wan announced plans to create two new national facilities for heart and cancer treatments at NUH in August 2007, citing the top two medical killers as reasons. During a press conference on December 2, 2008, the National University Heart Centre of Singapore (NUHCS) outlined its aims to enhance patient care and treatment. This will be accomplished by dividing patient care and clinical service delivery into four systematic, comprehensive, and phased programs:

A model for illness management program for heart failure

Program for congenital heart disease: end-of-life care

Acute coronary syndrome program: immediate assistance for heart attack victims

Therapy and medication for arteries and veins

The National University Health System was formed in January 2008 when NUH and the National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Faculty of Dentistry merged. This will assist in meeting healthcare demands by bringing about synergy via the merging of education and clinical treatment. In 2009, plans for the National University Cancer Institute of Singapore (NCIS) were revealed. To satisfy the rising need for healthcare, the Kent Ridge campus’ infrastructure will be expanded to include major research and teaching facilities in the NUHS Centre for Translational Medicine building, as well as two national cancer and cardiovascular medicine centers at the NUH site.

The National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) relocated into the NUH Medical Centre in April 2014, offering holistic and complete care, management, and treatment for both adult and paediatric oncology patients in one location. The NCIS, which is situated with other outpatient medical specialisations in the NUH Medical Shop and covers approximately 13,000 square metres, is a one-stop centre for the prevention, care, and treatment of cancer.

The NCIS and JurongHealth signed a Memorandum of Understanding known as the Western Cancer Action Network – WCAN in January 2013 to design a strategy that would lead to cancer care for persons living in Singapore’s western side.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee, a six-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2018 and had previously failed to respond to conventional therapies, was successfully treated at NUH. He came in November 2019 and was released to return to the United Kingdom in April 2020. His therapy was self-funded.


NUH’s main building and service block were built in 1985 and are connected by a service and communications “spine” in a north–south configuration. Taking use of the slope, the designers divided the “service tunnel” from the pedestrian floors. Recessed windows, verandahs, and concrete sun screens let the blocks adapt to the tropical environment. Cross-ventilation in non-air-conditioned interiors is aided by shady courtyards that function as cool air reservoirs.

In 1996, Kent Ridge Wing 2 was built. It has an inpatient wing as well as outpatient clinics and service centers for specialists.

The NUH Medical Centre, which has been open since July 2013, is the hospital’s newest outpatient facility, serving largely subsidised patients. It’s right over the Kent Ridge MRT station and was created with patients in mind, so it’s more accessible and convenient for everyone, particularly the elderly. Bridges connect the buildings.

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