SINGAPORE - Those who need private ambulance services will now be able to check and compare the fees charged by various operators before deciding which to engage.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has published a list of fees charged by private ambulance operators accredited to provide their services to the public under the Voluntary Accreditation Scheme (VAS).
The list, which is available on the MOH website, provides information on common charges such as general fees for transport by ambulance and fees for the use of commonly consumed services such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
While MOH does not regulate the fees charged by private ambulance operators, the list serves as a guide and a consolidation of information.
This will help ensure greater price transparency for those who need private ambulance services, the ministry said.
For instance, a one-way trip to a hospital's accident and emergency department can cost between $90 and $300 during office hours, or from $120 to $500 after office hours.
The list also contains detailed charges for items and consumables used for specific patient groups and medical conditions such as medications, ventilation and trauma-related equipment.
"These allow the public to make informed decisions about the choice of private ambulance operators based on the patient's medical condition, and to estimate the bill size," MOH said.
Currently, operators that publicly list their fees have done so voluntarily.
But they will soon be required to do so as part of price transparency requirements under the Healthcare Services Act (HCSA), when the new Emergency Ambulance and Medical Transport Services Regulations come into effect at the end of the year.
The list will be updated regularly as operators submit their fees to MOH.
The ministry said the VAS was introduced in 2018 to bring private ambulance operators under the HCSA, which was passed in 2020 to replace the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act.
Under the HCSA, private ambulance services will be licensed to ensure the safety and welfare of patients, and they will be regulated as either emergency ambulance services or non-emergency medical transport services.
Accredited operators under the VAS will have to adhere to standards under the scheme before the HCSA regulations for private ambulance services are implemented.
The MOH said more than 90 per cent of private ambulance operators in Singapore have been accredited under the VAS as at end-May.
The ministry is encouraging the public to make use of accredited operators if they require such services.