In its long and storied history, Queenstown has been the first of many things.
The first housing estate in Singapore. The first site for an IKEA store. The first place for a branch library. And where healthcare is concerned, Alexandra Hospital was the first hospital in all of Southeast Asia to successfully perform limb re-attachment to a patient on 12th April 1975.
Located closer to Alexandra Road, the facility began life as a hospital for the British military personnel and was named The British Military Hospital. When the Japanese invaded, many of the hospital’s patients and staff were brutally murdered. The invading army ignored all signs of the red cross to commit this atrocity in what would later be known as the Alexandra Hospital massacre. Out of the approximate 900 patients (excluding staff), only a few managed to escape.
After the horror of the war ended, the British redeveloped the hospital to have the best facilities and medical expertise to provide unrivalled healthcare in Malaya. When the British left, the hospital was handed over to the Ministry of Health on 11th September 1971. The hospital was renamed the Alexandra Road General Hospital and reopened as a civilian hospital four days later.
Over the years, the Alexandra Hospital went through four forms of restructuring and management. In 1995, it came under the National University of Singapore. Management fell to the National Healthcare Group sometime in 2000. Then, in 2008, AlexandraHealth took control only to be handed over to JurongHealth in 2010.
As of 2015, management of the hospital is now assumed by SingHealth Sengkang Health.
The status of historic buildings in Singapore are always up in the air. Alexandra Hospital for its wartime significance was no different.
Even though in 1998, Alexandra Hospital was designated as a historic site by the National Heritage Board, it was would not make the conservation list until 2013 when a grassroots organisation successfully lobbied for it to be so to URA.
The hospital has since undergone several rounds of renovation and relaunches. In April 2016, the 24-hour Acute Care Clinic was opened. Other medical services include: Anaesthesia & surgical care, dental care, endocrinology, general surgery, psychological medicine, radiology, urology, dietetic, physiotherapy and more.
Alexandra Hospital is located along Alexandra Road, across from Keng Eng Kee Seafood and within eyeshot of IKEA and the AYE. In time to come, the hospital will be even more critical. As the Greater Waterfront City takes root in the old Pasir Panjang terminal, people that live and work there will need a medical hub.
Fortunately for these future residents, Alexandra Hospital isn’t far away.