SINGAPORE – Officials of the Civil Defense Police of England have the powers to obtain personal identification of unconscious patients, as well as use force when necessary to carry out rescue operations, under changes to the law approved by Parliament on Tuesday (November 20).
Under laws offered by the Civil Defense and Other Issues Bill, officers may have fingerprints or other personal information from an unconscious person in a medical emergency.
This will allow SCDF Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to identify patients and facilitate the availability of relevant health information from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and administer appropriate and timely medical interventions, said First Minister for Home Affairs, Josephine Ltd the range of the debate on the Bill.
Mrs Teo said that he was unable to identify about 8 per cent, or 14,000 of them, of the 165,000 EMS patients attended by the SCDF last year. Typically, these patients were unconscious or irresponsible and did not have identification documents.
Changes to the law will allow SCDF officials to collect more information about a patient and respond better to medical emergencies, he says.
"For example, crew members can avoid the administration of drugs that the patient has identified allergies to them. Or, if they know that patients with respiratory difficulties have an asthma history, they can administer the relevant drug on once. "
"They can also share the patient's identity with the hospital, so that preparations can already be made in the Emergency Department even though the patient is conveyed there by SCDF."
In order to protect access to this personal information, the Home Affairs Ministry will work with the MOH to give access to authorized personal information to the relevant health information strictly on the basis of need, Mrs Teo .
In order to prevent misuse, protection of security and clear guidelines will be developed to determine the rights of access of personnel concerned and the circumstances in which the information can be accessed, Mrs Teo said. Penalties will also be set for any misuse.
The improvements will also give SCDF officers more powers and security to make emergency and rescue operations.
Officers will now be given specific legal powers to carry out actions that, among other things, require powerful access to private property, removal of persons or objects, and closure of roads, in order to protect lives and prevent injury and harm to human health.
Previously, SCDF officers were relying on the common law to justify the use of such actions in response to emergency and rescue operations.
The changes, among other things, will also give officers the legal protection of actions taken during operations.
Previously, statutory protection officers did not have legal liability in operations that sometimes included accounting risks, such as the breaking of open vehicles to save sustained victims.
"This is not ideal. SCDF officers should be entitled to focus on work on hand, on life saving, without being highlighted by concerns about whether or not they can be charged for damage caused in discharging their duties," he said Mrs. Teo.
These laws will be extended to private ambulance operators undertaken by SCDF and SCDF-based Singapore Armed Forces for EMS operations.
Given the additional powers and powers given to SCDF officers, there is a need to prevent abusers from abuse, said Mrs Teo.
As such, the changes will make it an offense for anyone to defaults or misrepresent himself as an SCDF officer, and this is a maximum penalty penalty of $ 2,500 and six months' imprisonment.
The production and distribution of unauthorized SCDF or insignia costumes will also be offended, and criminals may be fined up to $ 10,000 and imprisoned up to three years.
The Bill will also introduce criminal provisions in the Immigration Act and the Prison Act, for similar offenses related to the imitation of officials of the Immigration and Checking Authority and the Singapore Prison Service.
During the debate on the Bill, Mr Melvin Yong (Tanjong Pagar GRC) asked how SCDF officers would receive patient information and the safeguards against unauthorized access.
Mrs Teo said that the SCDF ambulance crew would have a mobile device to scan the patient's fingerprints and to verify it against the ICA database. If there is a game, relevant information from the National Electronic Health Record system can be recovered using the NRIC number or the patient's FIN.
Mrs Teo also stressed that robust measures will be implemented against unauthorized access, hacking and misuse. "SCDF is very aware of the need to protect patient information," he said.