Public Healthcare in Singapore: TTSH & NCCS

Singapore has achieved extraordinary results both in the high quality of its healthcare system and in controlling the cost of care. In per capita terms and as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), its health-care expenditures are the lowest of all the high-income countries in the world. In fact, total healthcare spending amounted to less than 4% its GDP, and government healthcare expenditure totaled $4.8 billion or 1.4% of its GDP in 2012 (Ministry of Health, 2013).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore has restructured the healthcare system in recent years towards an integrated care model to provide patients with holistic care. The system is split into 6 regional healthcare systems, anchored by a regional hospital working with a variety of primary, intermediate and long-term care sector and support services to deliver patient-centric care. Major healthcare providers in the public sector include SingHealth and National Healthcare Group. In the private sector, local healthcare groups include the Parkway Group, and Raffles Medical Group.

To gain a better perspective of the public healthcare infrastructure and landscape in Singapore, we studied 2 public healthcare institutions: Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and the National Cancer Centre of Singapore (NCCS).

To start with, TTSH is part of the National Healthcare Group (NHG), a leading public healthcare group in Singapore comprising primary, secondary and tertiary care institutions. TTSH is one of the largest multi-disciplinary hospitals in Singapore, and the second largest acute general hospital in Singapore with more than 1,500 beds, 7,000 staff across 27 clinical departments. The hospital specializes in infectious diseases, rehabilitation medicine, geriatrics, respiratory medicine, rheumatology, allergy and immunology.

Within TTSH, the Clinical Research and Innovation Office (CRIO) was started a year ago and with the aim to lead, promote and coordinate research culture and activities that support the development of TTSH into a reputable world-class healthcare facility. Given rising demands for healthcare in Singapore and TTSH’s prime location, the bed occupancy rate (BOR) at the hospital is very high, in fact often exceeding 95%.  As a result, TTSH often works closely with neighboring hospital, Ren Ci Hospital, a charity healthcare institution located just beside TTSH.

In line with their goal of providing high quality healthcare services to patients, the department is committed to constantly upgrade their capabilities by research and development. Partnering with local industry players through SPRING Singapore, a government agency dedicated to the promotion of Singapore’s economic growth and productivity, TTSH has co-developed products and services for use in the hospital, for example, brain interface computer therapy for rehabilitation of stroke patients with the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), as well as tele-ophthalmology services at polyclinics for general eye screening that saves time and cost. On this end, the CRIO is interested in collaborating with Israeli companies developing complementary technologies.

On the other hand, the National Cancer Centre of Singapore (NCCS) is part of the Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), another public healthcare group consisting of 2 major hospitals, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and 5 specialist centres, including the NCCS. NCCS is Singapore’s only comprehensive cancer centre dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and research of cancers with in-house research infrastructure including animal holding, biohazard containment and GMP grade facilities.

The NCCS handles 60-75% of cancer patients in Singapore. The team at NCCS focuses on research areas such as cancer, infectious diseases, inflammation, immunology, neurosciences, cardio-metabolic, eye, and health services. As NCCS is located within the SGH medical cluster, it conducts clinical trials with many local institutions, including the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, as well as international collaborations with over 20 countries, including Cambridge University, UK, Stanford University, USA and the Sun Yat Sen University Cancer Centre, China. Thus far, the NCCS has conducted smaller, Phase I and II clinical trials within its centre and are interested in collaborating with Israeli counterparts on clinical research, particularly for Phase III clinical trials.

If you are keen on working with TTSH or NCCS, or for more information about opportunities for collaboration in Singapore, please contact us at 6834 9220 or

2013-12-17T12:17:50+00:00December 17th, 2013|General, Medical|0 Comments