In preparation for Phase 2 of the Healthcare Services Act (HCSA) which will be implemented on 26 June 2023, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reminds all healthcare providers who deliver medical or dental services from premises apart from clinics, as well as via teleconsultation, that they are required to hold a HCSA licence by the same day.
2. HCSA was enacted in 2020 to replace the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act (PHMCA) to ensure that healthcare regulation is kept up to date with new models of care. Under the PHMCA, healthcare providers were licensed based on the different types of physical premises such as medical clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, clinical and x-ray laboratories. However, as new care models for patients have emerged, the delivery of healthcare services is no longer confined within the boundary of physical brick-and-mortar premises of clinics and hospitals. HCSA will provide a more flexible approach in the regulation of Singapore’s healthcare system from a premises-based to a services-based framework.
3. HCSA is being implemented progressively in three phases, which started in January 2022 and will be completed in end-2023 when PHMCA will be repealed. Phase 1, which was implemented from 3 January 2022, involved clinical support services, such as clinical laboratory blood banking, radiological, emergency ambulance and medical transport services, as well as the General and Advertisement Regulations. Phase 2, which will start from 26 June 2023, will affect the majority of the services currently regulated under the PHMCA, such as acute and community hospitals, outpatient medical and dental services, assisted reproduction, ambulatory surgical centre, human tissue banking, nuclear medicine and outpatient renal dialysis services. Phase 3, the final phase, will involve long-term care services and other specialised and new services, and will be implemented by the end of 2023.
4. Under Phase 2 implementation of the HCSA from 26 June 2023, healthcare services which were not previously licensed under the PHMCA, including medical/dental services delivered from premises apart from clinics, and tele-consultation services by doctors or dentists, will now be licensed. The following types of service providers would be required to hold a HCSA licence:
a. Home medical/dental and home palliative care service providers;
b. Medical or specialist clinics that engage or employ doctors to offer tele-consultation services;
c. Telemedicine platform companies that engage or employ doctors to provide teleconsultation services;
d. Individual doctors that offer teleconsultation services in their own professional capacity;
e. Doctors or dentists who offer home medical/dental care in their own professional capacity; and
f. Medical or dental practitioners who provide services outside of permanent clinic settings e.g., workplaces, community clubs, ad-hoc tentages.
5. MOH urges healthcare providers who (i) are currently not holding a PHMCA licence and (ii) provide or intend to provide medical/dental care services delivered from premises apart from clinics and/or tele-consultations by doctors/dentists to submit an online form at www.go.gov.sg/hcsa-services-form by 31 May 2023 to indicate that they would like to obtain a HCSA licence. The submission of the form will require Singpass login for verification. MOH will reach out to those who have completed the form on the steps needed to obtain a HCSA licence thereafter.
6. Everyone has a part to play to improve and safeguard patient safety and welfare. For more information on the HCSA, please visit www.HCSA.sg. Healthcare providers who require further information or clarification may email HCSA_Enquiries@moh.gov.sg for assistance.