Dental practice offices are among the medical offices frequently visited by clients, and many dentists have their own offices or clinics where they accommodate patients, and practice their professions from the comfort of their own business entity.
Opening a medical facility, office, or clinic in Singapore, however, is complicated, as there are multiple licenses and requirements that need to be met before anyone can open a medical centre, even for non-surgical dental practice. This article will guide you through the steps in opening a dental clinic in Singapore.
How to Open a Dental Clinic
Dentistry is one of the most prolific sectors of the medical industry in Singapore, and dental practice is a popular choice of profession for many medical practitioners. The setup of this business is quite similar to that of a traditional clinic, which requires business owners to abide by strict rules, and work with both the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) as well as the Singapore Medical Council.
Who is Eligible to Start a Dental Clinic in Singapore?
According to regulations, any organisations, societies or individuals with valid medical licence can start their own dental clinics in Singapore. These businesses are mostly registered under a business entity - either as a sole proprietorship, or a private limited company.
Nevertheless, the first thing you need to do is register with the ACRA or Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Here are a few steps you should follow to start a dental clinic in Singapore:
How to Start Your Dental Clinic Business in Singapore
1. Choose and Get Approval for a Premise
Firstly, you should look for a good location for your clinic. You will need to get approval for this premise. The clinic should be in line with the regulations for medical centres as imposed by the Building and Construction Authority, and must have a fire safety certificate to be fit for use as a dental clinic.
If you want to occupy or renovate an existing space, you have to acquire the building permit through the BCA (Building and Construction Authority). After that, you need to get the Temporary Occupation or Statutory Completion Certification before occupying the space.
Some other licences or permits to acquire for your premise include the Advertisement License for placing business signage and the Certificate of Fire Safety. The premise will also need a medical clinic licence to permit operations in the space.
2. Get Licence for Dispensing Medicinal Drugs
For dental clinics which plant to dispense some medicinal drugs, it is necessary to acquire the Pharmacy Registration Certificate from the Health Sciences Authority. Also, an L3 licence by the National Environment Agency (NEA) is required for using irradiating equipment like X-ray machines.
3. Name Your Dental Clinic
The next step is to get a suitable name for your clinic. It must include the term “Dental Centre” or “Dental Clinic” and mustn’t be identical or similar to other existing licensed clinics. You can include “National” or “Singapore” in the name without approval from the authority. The name of your clinic on the signboard must be the same as the approved one. If you need to include any additional symbol, logo, or words, then it also requires approval.
4. Establish Responsibilities With A Clinic Manager
Next, you need to find a clinic manager who can represent you in the management process. Basically, he or she should be a medical practitioner who registered with the Medical Council of Singapore, preferably with experience in dental practice.
5. Acquire Necessary Licenses
To legally open and run a dental clinic in Singapore, it is required to acquire the following licences:
- Risk-based licensing: This is a new licensing regulation, which encourages licensees of healthcare institutions to comply with licensing requirements. Based on the service nature under RBL, the licences will be divided into three categories, including low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk.
- All applications must be submitted to the Audit, Inspection, and Licensing Department, Ministry of Health, two months before the scheduled date for official commencement.
For dental clinics with multiple branches, it is important to licence each branch individually. Here is the overview of the average licensing fees for a dental clinic in Singapore:
- S$770 for 1 dentist
- S$1100 for 2 to 5 dentists
- S$1500 for 6 or more dentists
- S$1600 for an X-ray laboratory
- S$2000 for an X-ray laboratory and clinical
6. Document Submission
Within seven working days, you need to submit the following documents to the Ministry of Health (MOH):
- Certificate of Fire Safety: According to the Fire Safety Act, nobody could use or occupy any buildings if there is no fire certificate which authorises such use or occupation is first acquired from the Fire Safety and Shelter Department.
- Floor Plan of the new premise with premises approval.
- Corporate regulatory and accounting company profile
- Letter of authorization for the CEO or director of the company, who are authorised to submit the application for the company.
- The licensee’s consent letter of your dental clinic. The licensee is the person who agrees to share the premise with your dental clinic. This is only applied to situations where the premise to be licensed is currently shared with other licensees.
7. Licence Issuing
Depending on the kinds of licences, the process of issuing often takes anywhere from one to two weeks after inspection. These licences will be valid for 2 years. The company can then operate its clinic, conduct medical practice, take in patients for dental work, and even send out medical advertisements for their clinic.
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