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A strong conviction to serve and care has driven Singapore General Hospital (SGH) since its inception in 1821. Thus, it is fitting that on 29 March 2021, that date should be marked by the launch of a Bicentennial Garden on the grounds where it eventually settled — Sepoy Lines in the Outram area.
The Garden is a reminder of healthcare professionals’ hallowed responsibility to Singapore’s public healthcare, while the planting of trees by a host of dignitaries and representatives of SGH’s leaders signifies the laying down of roots for its future growth and development.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, guest-of-honour at the celebrations, noted how SGH has evolved, its priorities changing in tandem with advancements in the country. It stepped up expeditiously to face the COVID-19 pandemic, as it had done in the past when the country was buffeted by deadly infections and epidemics.
“Your dedication to patients and commitment to help Singapore overcome the pandemic is commendable. I am glad that you also faced the uncertainties with courage, and adapted and innovated as the situation evolved,” said Mr Heng.
Professor Kenneth Kwek, SGH Chief Executive Officer, likened SGH to a magnificent tree whose deep roots have been nourished by generations of healthcare professionals and supporters, and which sprouted branches — its sister institutions within SingHealth, namely Singapore National Eye Centre, National Heart Centre of Singapore, National Cancer Centre of Singapore and National Neuroscience Institute — on SGH Campus.
<<(From left) Mr Peter Seah, Chairman, SingHealth; Professor Fong Kok Yong, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (Medical and Clinical Services), SingHealth; Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health; Professor Kenneth Kwek, Chief Executive Officer, SGH; Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister; Professor Ivy Ng, GCEO, SingHealth; Mdm Chang Hwee Nee, Chief Executive, National Heritage Board; Associate Professor Ruban Poopalalingam, Chairman, Medical Board, SGH.>>
Prof Kwek said that SGH’s achievements did not come by chance. Its people share a sense of purpose, a passion to serve, and the courage and tenacity to face and overcome adversities. These attributes were passed on from the very first pioneers through the ages; and from generation to generation, to the present.
“We have journeyed and will continue to journey with the nation through good times and tough ones. We share in the belief that our patients, regardless of their station in society, should have access to excellent care that matters most to them. As the current custodians in SGH, it is our responsibility to reimagine and define tomorrow’s medicine so that SGH will continue to be the beacon of hope for Singaporeans,” he said.
During the ceremony, Prof Kwek also announced a social movement named One Kind Act in appreciation of SGH’s patients, whom he described as heroes who inspire with their courage and fortitude. “As the name suggests, each of us will do ‘one kind act’ every day for another person as a way of giving back. It is to remind us that we are privileged to care for and to have the trust of our patients and the public,” said Prof Kwek.
Guests were given a preview of the refurbished SGH Museum, which is housed in Bowyer Block, a national monument. The Museum, co-curated by SGH and the Preservation of Sites and Monuments under the National Heritage Board, will open later this year.