4th Nov 2020
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Dr Wan Rizal
MP for Jalan Besar GRC
Question No. 257
To ask the Minister for Health whether there are plans to include mental health services in the polyclinics to be open to walk-ins, rather than through referrals or on an appointment basis, to reduce treatment delay of mental healthcare in the community.
1. Strengthening mental health services in primary care has been one of the key focus areas under the Community Mental Health (CMH) Masterplan. This is to ensure that persons with mental health conditions can access care closer to home and in a less stigmatizing environment.
2. Over the years, we have worked with the polyclinic clusters to set up mental health services in polyclinics and gradually build up the capabilities of our primary care doctors to manage persons with mild to moderate mental health conditions. Persons with mental health concerns can walk-in to polyclinics and they will be attended to by polyclinics doctors who will conduct preliminary assessment and provide appropriate management, including making referral to mental health services, where necessary.
3. Other than seeking help at the polyclinic, persons with mental health conditions can also seek mental health care at nearby General Practitioner (GP) clinics. Under the Mental Health General Practitioner Partnership Programme (MHGPP), we have trained over 220 GPs to identify, diagnose and manage persons with mental health issues in the community. These GPs are further supported by community intervention teams which provide allied-health services such as needs assessment, psycho-social therapeutic intervention, counselling and psycho-education for persons with mental health conditions. Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies are available for persons seeking mental health care with our MHGPP partners, who are also CHAS GP clinics.
4. In addition, persons with mental health conditions can also tap on other avenues of support available in the community such as the community outreach teams which provide basic emotional and psycho-social support and service linkage for persons with mental health issues. To date, we have a network of 43 community outreach teams across Singapore.
5. MOH will continue to work with polyclinics, GPs and community mental health partners to build up mental health services in the community, so that holistic and timely support is provided for persons with mental health conditions.