Partial commencement of the Healthcare Services Act 2020 with effect from 3 January 2022 to strengthen governance requirements for providers of healthcare services
27 January 2022
Pursuant to the Healthcare Services Act 2020 (Commencement) Notification 2021, the Healthcare Services Act 2020 (“Act”) came into operation on 3 January 2022 to:
- Introduce a services-based licensing regime for providers of healthcare services: Part 2 of the Act introduces a services-based licensing framework which is more flexible and also modular, replacing the premises-based licensing regime under the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act 1980 (“PHMCA”). The services-based licensing framework allows healthcare service provides to obtain licences based on the services they wish to provide. There will be more vertical and horizontal integration across traditional healthcare settings with the services-based licensing framework.
- Strengthen the safeguards for the safety and welfare of patients:
Part 3 of the Act sets out particular duties that licensees must comply with, including record-keeping obligations, and restrictions on the usage of certain words in a licensee’s name or logo and in descriptions of licensable healthcare services. The provisions relating to ethics review of certain medical treatment (section 26) and approval of employment of certain individuals by certain licensees (section 28) have not come into force yet.
- Improve the governance requirements for providers of healthcare services: The Act introduces provisions (sections 23, 24 and 25) which set out requirements for the board of directors and key management personnel of these providers.
Provisions relating to step-in arrangements for designated licensees (sections 32, 33, 34 and 35) are not in force yet. These provisions allow the Minister for Health to make step-in orders when necessary to ensure the continued safety and welfare of, and the continuing provision of licensable healthcare services to, a licensee’s patients or customers.
Other provisions in the Act which are not in force yet relate to the repeal of PHMCA (section 58) and consequential amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 and Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (section 59(2) and (8)).
The following subsidiary legislations, available on Singapore Statutes Online, also came into operation on 3 January 2022:
- Healthcare Services Act 2020 (Saving and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Fees) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Advertisement) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Advertisement - Exemption) Order 2021
- Healthcare Services (General) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Clinical Laboratory Service and Radiological Service) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Cord Blood Banking Service) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Blood Banking Service) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Nuclear Medicine Assay Service and Nuclear Medicine Imaging Service) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Emergency Ambulance Service and Medical Transport Service) Regulations 2022 (came into operation at 8:00am 3 January 2022)
- Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2021
- Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics (Licensable Healthcare Services - Exemption) Regulations 2021
- Healthcare Services (Exemption) Order 2021
By way of background, the Healthcare Services Bill (“Bill”) was passed in Parliament on 6 January 2020 after its introduction on 4 November 2019. For further information, please read our previous article titled “Healthcare Services Bill passed in Parliament: Provisions introduced to strengthen governance requirements for providers of healthcare services”.