Emergency vs. Non-emergency Number Ambulance: Which should you call?
The sound of an ambulance siren can be recognized by almost anyone, anywhere. When you hear an ambulance siren, it gives you a notion that a patient (most especially in emergency cases) is being transported to the hospital or a similar medical treatment facility. It acts as a simple message to people around not to delay it because someone’s life is at stake and the best response is to give way so the ambulance can reach the hospital as soon as possible.
An ambulance is equipped with medical tools and equipment to help medical personnel (that comes along with the ambulance) in stabilizing an injured or sick person and be able to transport the patient to a hospital. Although we might often associate calling for an ambulance for emergency medical situations, did you know that it can also be used for non-emergency purposes and other uses?
Yes, you read that right. There are several types of ambulances that can be classified whether they are used for emergency or non-emergency. Read on to know when to call for an emergency or a non-emergency ambulance and how you can access these services in Singapore.
Singapore has strict guidelines on when to call the emergency and non-emergency hotline numbers
Access to an ambulance service differs from country to country. In Singapore, the use of an ambulance is specifically classified as an emergency or non-emergency and a separate Hot Line Number has been assigned to each situation by the Singaporean government. Strict guidelines on when to call the emergency and non-emergency Hot Line Number has been set and implemented. Misuse of the Hot Line Numbers will result in fines as per Singaporean law. Knowing which number to call can make a difference especially in life and death situations.
When to call for an emergency ambulance?
For Fire and Medical Emergency, call 995. It is the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) that provides Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and gives round the clock emergency medical response as well as emergency fire response and rescue.
The emergency ambulance will bring the patient to the nearest public or restructured hospital. SCDF does not charge for the use of ambulance given that the situation is a true emergency case. However, the SCDF charges for instances where they transport a patient to the hospital in non-emergency situations. The patient’s condition will be assessed by the receiving hospital’s ER doctor to determine if the patient’s condition is an emergency or non-emergency.
What qualifies as a medical emergency?
Emergency medical situations are cases where the illness or injury can lead to a patient’s death or can cause serious complications on the patient if medical treatments are not received (by the patient) immediately. Below are the cases that are usually considered as a medical emergency, and thus require an emergency ambulance.
- Breathing difficulties or choking
- Sudden or severe chest pain
- Unconsciousness (the patient cannot regain consciousness)
- Severe abdominal pains
- Deep cuts or wounds with heavy bleeding
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Head injuries especially those manifesting bleeding, vomiting or an unusual behaviour
- Fall from heights (falling accidents)
- Spine, chest, abdomen and pelvic injuries
- Poisoning (drug overdose, toxic chemical inhalation or ingestion)
- Severe allergies
- Drowning accidents/injuries
- Severe Burns and Scalds covering a large area (bigger than the size of a hand) or covering
- Burns caused by lightning or by electric shocks the face
When to call a non-emergency number ambulance?
For non-emergencies, do not call the SCDF Emergency Ambulance Service. Instead, you may opt to arrange a consultation with a family doctor, use alternative (such as public) transport or call a private ambulance at a fee.
For non-emergency number ambulance, the Singaporean government assigned Hot Line Number 1777 where one can get assistance by contacting the available private ambulance operators for a private ambulance service. Fees may vary from case to case.
A certain case is considered a non-emergency if it does not result in death or any serious complication if treatment is not immediately provided to the patient. Examples of these cases include toothache, less severe bruises/cuts, mild vomiting, a regular medical check-up and other minor medical conditions.
Speedoc App for booking a non-emergency ambulance in Singapore
Nowadays, due to improved access to technology, there are emerging options in booking a private ambulance for non-emergency cases a lot quicker. Speedoc has developed the first-ever ambulance-booking mobile app in Singapore where booking for a non-emergency ambulance can be hassle-free.
With the Speedoc app, a private ambulance can be easily booked (just like booking a private car) for services including transport to the hospital, or from the hospital after discharge and even transport for a scheduled medical check-up. Transport to nursing homes, hospices and other health care institutions in Singapore can also be requested via the app.
Users will just need to provide the date and location the ambulance is needed and the app will generate the information required. The fees are also reflected on the app which gives a clear understanding of expected fees before booking is confirmed. Service can be paid through the app (using a credit card) or in cash during the scheduled visit.
The Speedoc app can be downloaded via Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). You can download the app or visit the Speedoc website for more information.
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