A look at prices

SINGAPORE - An ambulance ride can cost an arm and a leg, depending on the operator you get.

For instance, a one-way transport to the hospital can cost anywhere between $60 and $120. Oxygen can cost anything between $15 and $150.

The difference in prices can be unfair. After all, you don't get to choose the ambulance operator when you call non-emergency hotline 1777.

Private ambulance operators are supposed to comply with the Ministry of Health (MOH)'s Guidelines for Private Ambulance Service. These guidelines, however, do not deal with the issues of price.

To make sure you do not get ripped off, private ambulance operators suggest families do their research. But not everyone can do that, said Dr Chia Shi Lu, who is a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health.

In February, it was reported that MOH and the Ministry of Home Affairs will review the guidelines of private ambulance operators, which were first drawn up in 1998.

Still, any new regulations should not be too harsh.

As Mr Timothy Lim, business development manager of Lentor Ambulance, pointed out: "We serve the community, but we are not a charity."

linheng@sph.com.sg


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