Singapore is a renowned medical tourism hub, with patients from all over the world coming to the country for essential and elective medical procedures. The prevalence of excellent healthcare facilities also makes it easier for regular tourists who happen to fall ill or get injured in Singapore. Even if you’re in Singapore purely for business or pleasure, it helps to know what facilities there are for visitors who require medical treatment in Singapore.
If you’re using Singapore as a starting point for regional travel, it’s a good place to get vaccinated before heading out to other countries. It’s not generally considered necessary to get any special vaccinations before coming to Singapore, but inoculation is recommended for visitors to the region, especially in countries where malaria is endemic.
A General Practitioner (GP) is a great way to start — both for travel medicine, and for minor ailments and injuries. GP clinics are generally found in most neighbourhoods, in anything from shopping malls to HDB residential estates. You will normally be seen without an appointment, and the doctor will be able to prescribe drugs on the spot, which you can buy from the clinic itself.
More complex or serious problems are best seen at a hospital. The biggest public hospitals are Singapore General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital and offer healthcare services of almost all types; the latter has a Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Centre for immunisations, prophylactic treatment and health advice. Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Glenagles Hospital are large private hospitals where you will also find a range of medical services. Whether you select a public or private hospital, you can expect a high standard of healthcare facilities across the board.
For medical emergencies in Singapore, the ambulance service run by the Singapore Civil Defence Force can be reached at 995. Ambulances generally arrive very promptly and bring the patient to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment.
For over the counter medication, painkillers, sunblock, simple dressings, nutritional supplements, mosquito repellent and other medicine cabinet items, head to stores like Guardian and Watsons, which you’ll find in most shopping malls, including The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Called pharmacies, they are the Singaporean equivalent of the American drugstore or British chemist. Many of these stores also contain a pharmacy which will sell you prescription medication if you have a valid doctor’s prescription, with a pharmacist on duty at certain times to assist and advise.