Singapore’s well-established healthcare system comprises a total of 13 private hospitals, 10 public (government) hospitals and several specialist clinics, each specializing in and catering to different patient needs, at varying costs.
Patients are free to choose the providers within the government or private healthcare delivery system and can walk in for a consultation at any private clinic or any government polyclinic. For emergency services, patients can go at any time to the 24-hour Accident & Emergency Departments located in the government hospitals.
Singapore's medical facilities are among the finest in the world, with well qualified doctors and dentists, many trained overseas.
Singapore has a Medical savings account system known as Medisave.
The Singapore General Hospital is the largest and oldest hospital in Singapore, of which the foundation of its first building was laid in 1821.
The Tan Tock Seng is the second largest hospital in Singapore after the Singapore General Hospital, but its accident and emergency department is the busiest in the country largely due to its geographically centralized location. Set up in 1844 by an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tan Tock Seng, the hospital came into the international spotlight when it was designated as the sole treatment centre for the SARS epidemic which struck the country in 2003.
In the 1990s, all public hospitals were "restructured" which means that they have been operated as government-owned corporations rather than the typical model of Public hospitals in other countries. There are two major healthcare groups operating restructured hospitals: SingHealth and the National Healthcare Group (NHG). There is also a smaller group linked to the National University of Singapore called the National University Health System (NUHS).