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Median and Average Waiting Times for Patients at Institute of Mental Health in view of refurbishment and improvement works

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Leon Perera
MP for Aljunied GRC

Question No. 1102

To ask the Minister for Health in view of the refurbishment and improvement works at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) since 2018 to improve its operational efficiency (a) what are the median and average waiting times for patients for appointments with (i) psychiatrists (ii) clinical psychologists and (iii) counsellors at IMH; and (b) what are the measures being taken to reduce waiting times.

Written Answer

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) campus renovation work is still ongoing and is slated for completion in end 2023. The refurbishment works do not affect the clinic operations and waiting times for appointments have not been affected by the refurbishment works. For 2020, the median waiting time for new subsidised patients was 29 days to see a psychiatrist and 18 days to see a clinical psychologist. The corresponding waiting times in 2019 was 22 days and 14 days for psychiatrist and clinical psychologist appointments.

IMH does not track waiting times specifically for appointments to see counsellors, as many healthcare professionals and social workers provide counselling as part of their work.

IMH monitors appointment waiting times closely and implements measures to optimise appointment slots. For example, IMH will review staffing schedules and clinical operations including calling of patients prior to their appointment to check for any last-minute cancellations so that other patients’ appointments could be brought forward. IMH also conducts triaging of the conditions of referred patients via phone calls, and suitable patients are offered therapy with psychologists over teleconference platforms. Non-urgent cases are referred to primary and community-based care to enable specialist services to focus on more urgent and complex cases.

MOH will continue to work with IMH and service providers in the community to ensure that we provide holistic and timely support for persons with mental healthcare needs.

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