Health licensing

In South Australia, private hospitals and private day procedure centres are licensed under the Health Care Act 2008 (the Act) and associated Health Care Regulations 2008 (the Regulations).

Private hospitals are defined in the Act as being “an entity (whether corporate or unincorporated and including a partnership or other structure) by which health services are provided, being health services that include services provided to persons on a live-in basis”.

Institutions conducted by or on behalf of the State, including public hospitals and nursing homes, and premises licensed under the Supported Residential Facilities Act 1992 are not included in the definition of private hospital under the Act.

Private day procedure centres provide prescribed health services to patients who are admitted and discharged on the same day.

A ‘prescribed health service’ is defined in the Act as involving the administration of:

  • General, spinal, epidural or major regional block anaesthetic; or
  • Intravenous sedation (only if greater than ‘conscious sedation’); or
  • Local anaesthetic (except provided by a general practitioner, or in general dentistry practice, or excluded by the Regulations*); or
  • Health services prescribed by the Regulations**

*Under the Regulations, health practitioners registered with a national board and authorised under law to administer local anaesthetic are excluded from the requirement to only perform local anaesthetic procedures in a licensed facility. Topical local anaesthetic is also excluded.

**There are currently five prescribed classes of health services listed in the Regulations:

  • Cardiac catheterisation
  • Chemotherapy
  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Renal dialysis
  • Cosmetic surgery as per the Regulations Section 21C(1)(e).

Under the Act a person must not provide a ‘prescribed health service’ at unlicensed premises (maximum penalty: $60,000)

List of licensed facilities

Licence and building applications

Health facility licensing is managed using a single online form which allows users to nominate the purpose of the application. Supporting documentation is required and will be requested during the application. Applicants must obtain written approval from the Minister for Health and Wellbeing’s delegate before any changes such as building works or the provision of new services may commence.

All applications that relate to capital works must now be accompanied with a detailed letter from your health planner/architect stating compliance with the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines (AusHFG). Any departures from Parts A-E and the applicable Health Planning Units must be declared and rationales that ensure patient safety and access must be outlined. *Applications without this letter will not be assessed.

Please refer to the factsheet (PDF 145KB) for further information.

When an application for a licence is required

  • To obtain a new licence
  • To vary an existing licence or conditions
  • To change the services provided under an existing licence
  • To transfer an existing licence to a new licensee
  • To alter or extend an existing licenced premises.

Unapproved works/alterations

When a licensee has commenced building works without approval or undertaken unapproved alterations to the premises, the new works or altered premises may be subject to an immediate minimum 14 day suspension, while Clinical Regulation Policy and Licensing (CRPL) inspect the premises, process an assessment and receive any fees applicable.

*If you are unsure whether or a not an application is required, please contact CRPL directly to seek clarification.

Facilities are also required to pay a prescribed fee. Details of the current fees can be found on the  fees and charges page.

Complete the online application for Private Hospital and Private Day Procedure Centre

All applications must be made online.

Timeframe for Health Facility Licensing to assess and approve licensing applications

Please refer to the attached factsheet (PDF 146KB) for information regarding timeframes.

The timeframes in the factsheet apply for routine alterations and private health facility constructions.

For complex projects with multi-phased constructions or with unique requirements, including remote locations, please contact CRPL. 

How do I apply for a private health facility licence?

licensing application, accompanied by the prescribed fee, will be assessed in two stages:

Design Approval

Building works must not commence before design approval is granted. The application including architectural plans (1:100 scale) is assessed against the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines, which are the constructions standards gazetted by the Minister. Plans will be reviewed by  health facility licensing officers for:

  • Flow of patients through the floor plan of the facility service;
  • Flow of equipment and waste from delivery to disposal (‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ spaces);
  • Reprocessing and storage of reusable medical devices;
  • Infection control processes and risks;
  • Emergency evacuation of patients on stretchers through doorways, and
  • Confirmation the building height/width achieve the required clearances for state ambulance vehicles, and there is adequate carpark and stretcher access to premises.

For new applications design approval will not be granted until fit and proper person checks are completed.

Design approval lapses after 1 year (if no building works commence) or 3 years (if building works are incomplete) unless an extension has been requested and approved.

Once design approval has lapsed, a new application must be submitted and fees paid in order to reassess the design against current standards, before approval can be provided.

Approval to Use

After building works are completed, a site inspection is completed to confirm the facility was constructed according to the approved plans and building class in the Australasian Health Facility Guidelines (AusHFG).

A licence will not be issued until a satisfactory inspection report, completion of any remedial work (to meet AusHFG) and review of commissioning documents e.g. building certification, medical gas testing.

Where the application involves building services with an impact on infection control e.g. water and air handling systems or the commissioning of rooms or equipment with specific testing requirements, a letter of acceptance by a designated infection control professional is also required.

Ongoing compliance requirements

The Health Care Regulations 2008 provides details of the annual returns that must be submitted by private health facilities to SA Health.

Annual licence fees no later than 30 April each year.

Annual return must be submitted via the online smart form between 30 April and 7 May.

Failure to pay annual licence fees prior to 30 April and/or failure to submit an annual return between 30 April and 7 May, may result in the suspension of a licence, or placing additional conditions to your licence.

Facilities must also ensure that they operate in accordance with any specific licence conditions imposed on them. This includes maintaining accreditation to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

Review of decisions

Under S87 and S89I of the Act, a decision or order of the Minister made under Part 10 or Part 10A of the Act is reviewable by the Tribunal under S34 of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013.

An application for review of a decision or order of the Minister under this Part must be made within 1 month of the making of the decision or order, but the Tribunal may, if it is satisfied that it is just and reasonable in the circumstances to do so, extend that period (whether or not it has already expired).

Commonwealth provider numbers

Following the issue of a licence, SA Health will advise this Department of Health that it has no objection to a provider number being issued to the facility under the  Commonwealth Private Health Insurance Act 2007.

If a facility wishes to be declared for private health insurance purposes, they must complete the ‘Private Hospital Information Form’ and submit it to the  Department of Health. The form and further information about the process can be found at the Australian Government’s Department for Health website.


For more information including whether your premises require a private hospital or private day procedure centre licence, please contact CRPL, and their authorised officers will respond to your query.

Phone: (08) 8226 7100