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MOH engaging psychologists to address concerns on advertising controls

We thank Mr Lee Boon Ooi for his letter “Holistic strategy needed for mental health care” (Feb 28).

We agree with Mr Lee that psychologists play a very important role with individuals who need help, in helping patients recover and regain normal lives.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is aware of the issues raised by psychologists on the use of the terms “treatment” and “doctor”.

The restriction on the use of the term “treat” has been in place since the Medicine (Advertisement and Sale) Act 1956. It was ported to the Healthcare Services Act (HCSA) for parity of penalties with HCSA licensees for advertising-related contraventions.

The restriction applies to all providers not licensed under HCSA and not just standalone psychology service providers. Likewise, the protection of the title “doctor” applies to all non-registered healthcare practitioners, and not just psychologists.

We are discussing these matters with the Singapore Psychological Society and their members and reviewing the issues raised. This facilitates MOH updating the risk assessment of psychological practice, with a view to determine if there is a need for registration of psychologists to better support the safety and quality of the practice.

We are encouraged by Mr Lee and others who have expressed their interest in advancing mental health care, and will continue to work with all our partners and the community to drive positive change and foster better mental health for all.

Susan Niam (Adj Prof)
Chief Allied Health Officer
Ministry of Health

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