NOTICE PAPER NO. 669
NOTICE OF QUESTION FOR ORAL ANSWER
FOR THE SITTING OF PARLIAMENT ON 4 OCTOBER 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Murali Pillai
MP for Bukit Batok
Question No. 1662
To ask the Minister for Health with regard to the recent court convictions of nurses from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for committing offences against mentally ill in-patients at IMH, what steps are being taken to ensure the safety and dignity of these in-patients and, at the same time, provide for sufficient support of IMH psychiatric nurses and health attendants to deal with challenges that they face in caring for mentally ill in-patients.
Patient safety and well-being is a top priority of our public healthcare institutions. We do not tolerate any inappropriate behaviour against patients and will take action where necessary, as with the recent IMH case.
2. Within IMH, staff are trained to care professionally for mental health patients, and staff work in teams to support one another. Care and clinical protocols are also in place to manage challenging situations. Some patients who are well enough participate to improve ward safety through feedback and suggestions during weekly discussions with IMH’s nursing management. Internal nursing auditors carry out monthly audits of staff knowledge, documentation and the environment to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Any unexplained injuries and reported incidents will be thoroughly investigated.
3. Working in the mental healthcare setting can be challenging. IMH looks after the mental well-being of its team by ensuring that staff are equipped with knowledge and skills to de-escalate difficult situations and by instituting peer support for daily work with a team-based work structure. Individualised assistance is also offered to staff who require emotional and psychological support after experiencing work-related challenges. Supervisors and staff are reminded to look out for their fellow colleagues who may be stressed or burnt out and extend support to them.
4. The Ministry will continue to work with our public healthcare institutions to care for the well-being of our patients and healthcare workers.