3rd Feb 2021
NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC
QUESTION NO. 433
To ask the Minister for Health whether the Ministry will consider (i) expanding clinical training and supervision programmes for incoming, existing and graduating students of Clinical Psychology with the goal of increasing future headcount particularly in the public healthcare system and (ii) facilitating access to tertiary education for current and potential psychologists and counsellors through financial support along similar lines to the various tuition grant agreements available to medical and dental students at some local universities.
Locally, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and James Cook University (JCU) Singapore offers Master’s programmes in Clinical Psychology. In the past three years (2018 to 2020), both schools took in a combined average of 27 students per year. There are also overseas programmes recognised by employers.
As of September 2020, there were 504 psychologists registered with the Singapore Psychology Society1. Within the public healthcare sector, the total number of psychologists and clinical psychologists increased by four percent annually, from about 160 in 2016 to about 190 in 2020, as a result of ongoing efforts to expand psychiatric and counselling services. The Government, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, is also reviewing the national supply plans for psychologists.
There are various schemes available that provide financial support for students pursuing local and overseas studies in clinical psychology. MOH Holdings offers the Healthcare Graduate Studies Award (HGSA) which covers tuition and other compulsory fees, monthly allowances and approved developmental courses. The National Council of Social Service (NCSS) also offers scholarships and awards for psychologists joining the social service sector. Students in the NUS Master of Psychology (Clinical) Programmes could tap on their Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) to pay for the programme fees. They can also apply for the NUS-Mental Health Counsellor Scholarship, which was newly introduced in 2020.
In addition, in-service psychologists working in the public healthcare sector can apply for MOH In-service Scholarship (ISS) to take up a Master’s programme in Clinical Psychology. Similarly, NCSS also offers support for in-service professionals to acquire recognised post-graduate psychology qualifications though the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund (VCF).
1 Source: Singapore Register of Psychologists, maintained by the Singapore Psychological Society. As registration for practice is not compulsory for psychologists, actual numbers may be higher.