When can I call an SCDF Ambulance?

For someone needing urgent medical care, the speedy arrival of an ambulance can mean the difference between life and death.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) emergency ambulance service should hence only be called for emergencies, to enable care to be given to those who need it most critically. 

Indeed, calling 995 for non-medical emergencies can cost lives.

However, some continue to engage the SCDF’s ambulance service for non-emergencies.

In this Factually article, we debunk some of the myths associated with calling 995, and give you the low-down on the alternatives.

3 Common Misconceptions about the SCDF Emergency Medical Service

Myth 1: Patients arriving in SCDF emergency ambulances need not pay for the ambulance service

Reality: This is true – but only for emergency cases. Non-emergency cases will be charged an ambulance fee of $274 (insert footnote to indicate “correct as at Jul 2015”).

Myth 2: Patients can request SCDF emergency ambulances to send them to any hospital of their choice

Reality: This is false. SCDF emergency ambulances will convey patients to the closest designated restructured hospitals, to receive immediate medical attention. Ambulance personnel will not consider requests to redirect patients to alternative hospitals, even if patients have existing relationships with those facilities. 

Myth 3: Patients arriving in SCDF emergency ambulances receive priority treatment at the A & E Department

Reality: This is false. ALL patients arriving at A & E Departments will be assessed by medical professionals at the hospital at the point of registration. Those assessed to be most critical will be attended to first.

So, what should you do if you or a loved one needs medical care but it is not an emergency?

Seek medical advice from a family doctor or a hospital, using your own or public transport.  

If an ambulance is required, dial 1777 for a non-SCDF ambulance. You will be able to choose which hospital to be taken to.

What is an emergency?
Basic Charges of the List of 1777 Private Ambulance Operators