Thomson Medical Centre may get makeover soon

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Thomson Medical Centre, an old dame of obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) services in Singapore, could be headed for a makeover soon.

With its 37-year-old premises in Thomson Road packed to the rafters, the company is looking to ramp up its capacity. "The current hospital is already operating at full capacity," Thomson Medical chairman Roy Quek said. The average bed occupancy rate of the 190-bed hospital is around 80 per cent.

But before the hospital can be redeveloped, it will have to find an alternative site. "If we are able to develop additional capacity beyond the existing hospital, we will be able to redevelop the existing hospital to better serve our patrons," Mr Quek said.

Whether the extra space will take the form of a brand new building or build upon existing healthcare space remains to be seen, although Mr Quek said Thomson is already in discussions with the relevant authorities. The Health Ministry declined to respond to queries on this.

Mr Quek's ambition is to move Thomson towards providing the full spectrum of medical care - similar to what a general hospital provides - rather than limiting itself to just O&G services. This will put Thomson on a par with other private healthcare groups here which already have comparable general hospital facilities, such as Raffles Medical or the Parkway Group.

Freelance designer Kimberly Ang, 24, who gave birth to her first child at Thomson last month, felt the hospital is due for an upgrade. "Parking is a little troublesome because parking spaces are so limited," she said, adding that the hospital's interior was "quite run down".

"It's quite small and the passages are winding, so it's quite difficult to make your way around," she added.

Thomson will also branch out into preventive healthcare services under a new company, Thomson Wellth, that will start operating from the first quarter of next year.

They include providing services such as health screenings. "We will need additional capacity to grow our range of specialities and consolidate our operations, as we have about 30 clinics operating outside of the hospital," Mr Quek said. These include women's and children's clinics in the heartland, such as in Jurong, Tampines and Sengkang.

Thomson already operates a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur, and will open a second one in Johor Baru by 2020. Ideally, said Mr Quek, its Singapore operations will be the company's flagship: "Singapore will be the base from which ideas, standards and innovations can flow to the other centres."

This article was first published on Dec 27, 2016. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.