On This Day in History: 18 October, SAMH Founder’s Day

In celebration of St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH)’s centenary this year, we have been sharing with you a series of snippets of our illustrious past, significant milestones that helped to shape SAMH into what it is today. In this snippet, we go back to the significant 18 October on which 100 years ago, a spark was ignited at a small medical practice, and over the years the spark grew into flames of comfort and healing, shining bright for the well-being of the community.

“To the Glory of God and for the Relief of Suffering”

Following the establishment of the Diocese of Singapore in 1909, our first Bishop of Singapore, the Right Reverend Charles J. Ferguson-Davie, and his wife, Dr. Charlotte Ferguson-Davie, a medical doctor, arrived in our shores with hearts to serve God’s people.

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Dr. Charlotte Ferguson-Davie – wife of the first Bishop of Singapore, the Rt. Revd. Charles J. Ferguson-Davie; and founder of St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital. Picture here with their daughter, Dorothea Ferguson-Davie.

The Singapore they saw then was an overcrowded, under-developed settlement with poor living conditions and being rife with diseases. While limited western-style medical institutions were available, the local women shunned them due to cultural sensitivities of being assessed by a male doctor.

Dr. Charlotte Ferguson-Davie, who had experience with setting up a medical mission in Malacca and had seen the fruits of the mission’s work, was determined to set up a same ministry in Singapore to combat the plight of the women and children and to share the love of Jesus Christ. Having staffed the dispensary with female doctors, and through the support of donors: St. Andrew’s Cathedral, the Singapore Diocesan Association, Society for Propagation of the Gospel, and various other individual donors, a dispensary was set up at 220 Bencoolen Street. And on this day in history, 18 October 1913, Lady Evelyn Young, wife of the Governor of the Straits Settlements proclaimed: “To the Glory of God, and for the relief of suffering, I declare this dispensary open”.

A Straits Times article reported: “St. Andrew’s Medical Mission … a dispensary for women and children, in charge of medical women and officered by women is now open at 220 Bencoolen Street, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, from 9 to 12 o’clock. This charity is intended to benefit the poor, and the poor of all races will be treated free. Those who are able to do so will be expected to pay for medicines, and other charges according to circumstances.”

This began a century-long journey of care, comfort and healing by the St. Andrew’s Medical Mission.

Footprints in 100 years

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1913 – 1923: Clinics at Bencoolen Street, Upper Cross Street, Pasir Panjang, New Bridge Road, and River Valley Road
1923 – 1941: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital for Women and Children, Erskine Road
1939 – 1986: St. Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Siglap (Elliot Road)
1948 – 1982: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital for Children, Tanjong Pagar Road
1982 – 1995: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Tanjong Pagar Road
1992 – 2005: St. Andrew’s Community Hospital, Elliot Road
1996 – 1998: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Aljunied Road
1998 – 2005: St. Andrew’s Lifestreams, St. Andrew’s Centre (Tanjong Pagar Road)
1999 – 2005: St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Elliot Road
2005 – Present: St. Andrew’s Community Hospital & St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Simei
2006 – Present: St. Andrew’s Lifestreams, St. Andrew’s Village (Francis Thomas Drive)
2011 – Present: St. Andrew’s Autism Centre & St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital Clinic, Elliot Road
2013 – Present: St. Andrew’s Nursing Home, Buangkok View

From Flicker to Flame

The dedicated serving spirit of Dr Charlotte Ferguson-Davie and the staff of the St. Andrew’s Medical Mission resulted in tremendous growth of the medical outreach. Today, the St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH) serves the community in areas through its various service arms:
• St. Andrew’s Community Hospital – community healthcare
• St. Andrew’s Lifestreams – care and counselling services
• St. Andrew’s Autism Centre – integrated autism-care services
• St. Andrew’s Nursing Home – psychiatric long-term care (operational by fourth quarter 2013)

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SAMH Clinic (Simei)

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Class in session at St. Andrew’s Autism Centre

While it may seem that SAMH’s stable of services is diverse, there is a common thread that strings these services together – Appropriate and Faithful. At every part of SAMH’s history, it has undertaken steps to remain appropriate in its provision of care to the community – bridging the prevalent need gaps that are being overlooked or difficult to minister to, so as to restore dignity and well-being to those afflicted. Faithful to its mission of being “a light in a dark place, that ignorance will be replace by knowledge and understanding, physical distress by comfort and healing”, SAMH strives to be a testimony to the spirit of Christian love and compassion.

Making history on 18 October

18 October is St. Luke’s Feast Day – a day that the Church commemorates the patron saint of all physicians and surgeons, Saint Luke; and on which prayers are made especially for healthcare professionals and medical missions.

100 years ago, SAMH started its first work on 18 October 1913 by the setting up of our very first dispensary.

Fast forward to 18 October 2006, St. Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH), the healthcare service of SAMH, was officially opened at Simei. SACH was the first community hospital to be situated next to an acute-care hospital, Changi General Hospital, to provide a seamless, coordinated continuum of care to the patients.

And on this very day, 18 October 2013, we celebrate SAMH’s 100th anniversary and prepare to launch our newest service, the St. Andrew’s Nursing Home (SANH). SANH combines the expertise of SAMH and its sister organisation, Singapore Anglican Community Service, in providing medical care and psychiatric rehabilitation. When operational by the end of 2013, the 300-bedded SANH will be Singapore’s fourth and largest psychiatric long-term care facility. Today, in the same spirit that launched us 100 years ago, we dedicate our service – to the Glory of God, and for the relief of suffering.

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St. Andrew’s Nursing Home (operational by 4Q 2013)

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On This Day in History: 4 October 2005

In celebration of St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital (SAMH)’s centenary this year, we have been sharing with you a series of snippets of our illustrious past, significant milestones that helped to shape SAMH into what it is today. In this snippet, we recount the Grace of God leading us to a vision of building a society in which people with Autism Spectrum Disorder would live alongside others as persons of intrinsic worth as God has intended.

What the Lord Hath Given, Use Wisely

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An aerial view of St. Andrew’s Community Hospital in the 1990s at Elliot Road, the historic site of St. Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital. St. Andrew’s Community Hospital is now located in Simei. 

In 1998, the Government opened Changi General Hospital at Simei to serve the community in the east. As part of its healthcare plan, MOH had decided to co-locate a community hospital next to an acute-care general hospital so as to provide a seamless, coordinated continuum of care to the patients. St. Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH) was offered to move to Simei, to be the first purpose-built community hospital to be housed next to CGH.

After some 60 years at the Elliot Road site where St. Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital was formerly situated and SACH was to move out from, SAMH held discussions within its board and the relevant authorities on utilising the remaining lease period for the Elliot Road site to initiate a new community service.

We began exploring the possibility of an early intervention centre for infants and children with special needs. Then we found out that while a rising number of people in Singapore were being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD or commonly known as autism), this condition is not widely understood by the general public and existing care-facilities were under-provided. After much discussion, consultation and study, the conclusion of going into autism care was reached – first a Day Activity Centre and later, as advised by the Government agencies, adding a special school component too. SAMH eventually decided on an integrated, one-stop centre for children, youths and adults with autism – a service gap which badly needed bridging.

On August 2005, we received approval from the Government to redevelop the Elliot Road site into an autism centre. As this integrated centre would be the first-of-its-kind in Singapore, its planning took a while before construction could begin. Yet SAMH was right on task to begin provisional services already, before this site got itself ready for the intended use.

The Birth of St. Andrew’s Autism Centre

And so, on this very day in history – 4 October 2005, SAMH launched interim services of St. Andrew’s Autism Centre (SAAC) on the tenth floor of the St. Andrew’s Community Hospital building at Simei.

The pioneer batch of management and staff of SAAC.]

The pioneer batch of management and staff of St. Andrew’s Autism Centre.

SAAC Celebrates Its Eighth Anniversary Today

By 4 January 2006, SAAC was serving 4 clients at its Day Activity Centre (DAC) and 2 students at its school (St. Andrew’s Autism School). Soon, its client and student numbers grew. SAAC’s DAC moved to a bigger facility at Bedok South (DAC) and later, its school moved to a temporary facility at Guillemard Crescent. Construction of the Elliot Road campus was finally completed in October 2010 and SAAC moved into its permanent home in November that year. On 29 March 2011, SAAC at Elliot Road was officially opened by then President SR Nathan.

Today, St. Andrew’s Autism Centre, a purpose-built one-stop integrated centre for autism care celebrates its eighth anniversary of service to the community in-need.

St. Andrew’s Autism Centre at the historical site at 1 Elliot Road, which housed the former St. Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital and St. Andrew’s Community Hospital.

St. Andrew’s Autism Centre at the historical site at 1 Elliot Road, which housed the former St. Andrew’s Orthopaedic Hospital and St. Andrew’s Community Hospital.