Private Ambulance licensing
Private ambulance operators can apply for a restricted ambulance service licence, under the provisions of section 58 of the Health Care Act 2008, to provide non emergency ambulance services. A licensed private ambulance operator may provide emergency ambulance services when authorised by SA Ambulance Service.
The definition of an emergency ambulance service (which must be requested using 000) is for a person requiring immediate medical attention; non-emergency ambulance services are considered non-urgent transport.
Applying for a private ambulance licence
The Health Licensing Unit administers private ambulance licensing on behalf of the Minster for Health and Wellbeing. A licence is required by all private operators of an ambulance service.
To apply for a licence, applicants are to complete and submit the following:
- Application for Restricted Ambulance Licence
- Accountant Statement (PDF 693KB)
- List of Directors (PDF 571KB)
- Statutory Declaration (PDF 590KB)
Fees for a private ambulance licence
The prescribed application fee must be paid before an application will be assessed. The fee is indexed each July and published in the SA Government Gazette.
These fees are current from 1 July 2021:
- Licence application fee - $2,500
- Fee for grant of licence - $2,500
- Variation of licence fee - $725
- Variation of licence conditions fee - $1,500
- Licence renewal fee (0-9 vehicles) - $2,000
- Licence renewal fee (10+ vehicles) - $3,000
Private ambulance licensing assessment process
A licence application will first be assessed to meet governance requirements. Once assessed, an inspection of the vehicles and equipment proposed to be used by the applicant will be undertaken by persons authorised by the Minister. A decision to grant a licence will not be made until this process is complete.
According to section 58 (17) of the Health Care Act 2008:
A person who objects to a decision of the Minister under this section—
- refusing to grant a licence to the person; or
- attaching conditions to, or varying conditions of, a licence granted to the person; or
- suspending or revoking a licence granted to the person,
may apply to the Tribunal for review of the decision under section 34 of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013
Other legislation that may apply, separate to that administered by the Health Licensing Unit includes but is not limited to:
- Controlled Substances Act 1984 - if scheduled drugs are administered
- Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 - if transporting children.
- Commonwealth Aged Care Act 1997 - if transporting aged care residents.
- Advanced Care Directives Act 2013
- Health and Community Services Complaints Act 2004
- Road Traffic Act 1961
- Road Traffic (light vehicle standards) rules 2018
Private ambulance application timeframes
It may take up to 60 days to complete the assessment of a complete application. If the applicant is requested to provide additional information, a decision will be made within 28 days of receipt of the information last requested or within the 60 day period, whichever is later. Applicants should keep these timeframes in mind when submitting an application.
Restricted (non-emergency) ambulance service license renewal
The Health Licensing Unit (HLU) administers private ambulance service licensing on behalf of the Minster for Health and Wellbeing. A licence is required by all operators of a non-emergency ambulance service. Operators seeking to renew their licence should commence the process 2-3 months prior to the existing licence expiry.
Complete the Restricted (non-emergency) Ambulance Service Licence Renewal Form to renew your licence.
Restricted ambulance licence holders
Penalties apply to those holding out.
According to section 60 of the Act, Holding out etc.
- A person must not hold himself or herself out as a person who carries on the business of providing ambulance services unless he or she carries on that business and is either licensed under Part 6 or is a person who is not required to be licenced under Part 6 in relation to services provided in the course of carrying on that business.
Maximum penalty: $20,000.
- A person must not hold himself or herself out as a person who is engaged in the provision of ambulance services unless he or she is a member of the staff of a provider of ambulance services acting in accordance with the other provisions of Part 6.
Maximum penalty: $10,000.
Emergency ambulance service
SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) is authorised to provide state-wide emergency ambulance services and has powers under the Emergency Management Act 2004 and South Australian Public Health Act 2011 to direct a person holding a restricted ambulance service licence. The following aeromedical providers are prescribed under the Health Care Regulations 2008 to also provide emergency ambulance services:
- Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia Central Operations
- Australian Helicopters Pty Ltd
- The Department of Defence
Frequently asked questions
- Under the Health Care Act 2008, who can provide emergency ambulance services? (PDF61KB)
- We provide first aid at public events, do we need to hold a Restricted (non-emergency) Ambulance Service Licence? PDF 62KB)
- We provide first aid at an industrial work site, do we need to hold a Restricted (non-emergency) Ambulance Service Licence? (PDF 70KB)
- How does the Health Care Act 2008 define an ambulance and an ambulance service? (PDF 62KB)
- Under the Health Care Act 2008, who can provide non-emergency ambulance services? (PDF 61KB)
For more information please contact the Health Licensing Unit. An authorised officer will respond to your query during business hours, Monday to Friday.