27 February 2023

On 6 February 2023, the Healthcare Services (Amendment) Bill (“Bill”) was introduced in Parliament to amend the Healthcare Services Act 2020 (“HCSA”). Primarily, the Bill seeks to amend the HCSA as follows:

  • Introduce an approval framework for service delivery modes and specified services;
  • Remove the concept of a special licensable healthcare service;
  • Subject the appointment of Clinical Governance Officers to the approval of the Director-General of Health;
  • Restrict the use of names and terms associated with a speciality by a licensee unless a relevant specialist is employed or engaged by the licensee;
  • Regulate the advertisement of non-licensable healthcare services;
  • Impose restrictions on the use of the title “Doctor” in advertisements of healthcare services;
  • Redesignate the Director of Medical Services to the Director-General of Health; and
  • Make miscellaneous amendments for the better administration of the HCSA.

The introduction of the Bill follows a public consultation which the Ministry of Health (“MOH”) conducted from 12 October 2022 to 11 November 2022 on proposed amendments to the HCSA to strengthen safeguards for patient safety and welfare. Concurrently, MOH also held stakeholder consultations with HCSA licensees from 12 October 2022 to 4 December 2022, including five closed-door virtual stakeholder consultations with medical and dental clinics, and email consultations with other HCSA licensees, including acute hospitals, community hospitals, renal dialysis centres and ambulatory surgical centres.

On February 2023, MOH issued a summary of key feedback and responses. The various stakeholders and the public were generally supportive of the amendments proposed by MOH. The vast majority of the feedback gathered was from licensees seeking further clarification of the proposed amendments and implementation details.

By way of background, the HCSA was enacted in 2020 to replace the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act 1980 (“PHMCA”). The HSCA is being implemented progressively in three phases. Implementation started when the HCSA partially commenced on 3 January 2022, and will be completed by end-2023 when the PHMCA will be repealed. 

Reference materials

The Healthcare Services (Amendment) Bill is available on Singapore Statutes Online sso.agc.gov.sg.

For further information about the proposed amendments to the HCSA from the MOH website moh.gov.sg, please click on the following reference materials: