Sir Stamford Raffles introduced western medicine to Singapore in 1819 when he arrived with the East India Company. As the popularity of western medicine grew, more British doctors were sent here. The local medical school was started in 1905 and hospitals mushroomed to cope with increasing demands. Impetus for the development of anaesthesia was ignited by rapid advancements in surgery. Most of our early anaesthetists received their training and specialty degrees in Britain until 1971 when the local Master of Medicine (Anaesthesia) began. The College of Anaesthesiologists, Singapore, together with the Singapore Society of Anaesthesiologists, shoulders the responsibility of ensuring optimal training and continual upgrading for the anaesthesia fraternity so that patient safety is not compromised.
The arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 herald the birth of western medicine in Singapore. Doctors were then sent here from Britain. These early doctors were ‘jack of all trades’ practising everything from public health to pathology. They had difficulties communicating with the locals and had little knowledge of tropical diseases. The introduction of antibiotics after the Second World War and the ability of the foreign doctors to treat tuberculosis and leprosy helped boost the locals’ faith in western medicine.
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