The Scuttlebutt Series: Raffles Medical Group Ltd’s Raffles Specialist Centre
The specialist centre, a 20-storey building with two basement floors, was opened on 22 January 2018. It has a gross floor area of about 220,000 square feet. Together with the adjacent Raffles Hospital, the combined development has a gross floor area of around 520,000 square feet.
Here are some things that I experienced during my visit to the Raffles Specialist Centre on a Saturday afternoon:
1. There is Dimbulah Mountain Estate Coffee located at the main entrance. It has a very prominent frontage as people who walk past the specialist centre would not miss it. I was surprised that the outlet was well-patronised, as there were not many people in other parts of the specialist centre.
2. Besides Dimbulah, the food court at basement one, called Heritage Food Street, was open as well. There were a few patrons scattered around the heritage-themed food court. What caught my eye were the small square traditional Peranakan floor tiles with flower motifs. There’s a direct escalator leading to the food court from outside Raffles Specialist Centre. This should help the office crowd get to the basement seamlessly to get their lunch fix.
3. Other than Dimbulah and Heritage Food Street, there were no other food and beverage (F&B) outlets open. Escalators were leading to the second and third floor with signages pointing to “F&B/Shops.” According to Raffles Medical’s 2017 annual report, there will be “cafes and restaurants on the first three levels of the building.”
4. Raffles Specialist Centre is linked seamlessly to Raffles Hospital at Levels 1 and 2 (I did not check out if there is a linkage at Level 3, but I guess there should be one too). The link ensures the buildings act as a fully-integrated medical complex. Raffles Hospital felt “old” to me once I transitioned from Raffles Specialist Centre. It may be because Raffles Specialist Centre appeared to be more brightly lit-up and had better flooring compared to Raffles Hospital. Raffles Specialist Centre’s Levels 4 to 6 are car parks.
5. I randomly visited two floors of the specialist centre. Level 10 is for cancer and heart centres, while Level 12 is for orthopaedic, pain management, and rehabilitation centres. I did not see patients on both the floors. The clinics were probably closed as I was there in mid-afternoon on a weekend.
The specialist departments occupying a total of six floors (from Levels 8 to 13) include Diabetes & Endocrine, Heart, Internal Medicine, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic, Pain Management and Radiology.
According to Raffles Medical’s latest annual report, with the Raffles Specialist Centre in operation, the existing Raffles Hospital building will “undergo renovation works to refurbish and expand patient wards so as to meet growing demands for inpatient services.”
It is still early days for Raffles Specialist Centre. However, it was pleasing to see Dimbulah and the basement food court being occupied, even without much patient load. It seems that Raffles Medical is gearing up for growth with the long-term in mind. With an ageing population and the rising affluence in Singapore, the healthcare outfit should do well.