NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC
QUESTION NO. 445
To ask the Minister for Health (a) what is the framework currently in place at the national and localised levels to support seniors and their care-givers who face mental health challenges; and (b) whether plans are on track to expand the long-term care workforce.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has been working with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), community partners such as the Social Service Agencies (SSAs) and Public Healthcare Institutions (PHIs) to provide community mental health services to persons who face mental health challenges, including seniors, under the Community Mental Health Masterplan.
To support seniors who face mental health challenges, MOH and AIC have worked with the SSAs to establish community outreach teams who reach out to these seniors to provide mental health information and support. These teams are able to provide basic emotional support, and can help to link these seniors and their caregivers up with other health and social services where necessary. As of June 2020, we have set up 48 community outreach teams which have reached out to over 324,000 persons.
In 2019, MOH launched the Caregiver Support Action Plan to strengthen support for senior caregiving, covering a range of support measures including care navigation, respite care, financial support and socio-emotional support. In particular, under the Action Plan, caregivers who have or are at-risk of developing depression, anxiety and burn-out due to their caregiving role can approach AIC or the community partners to access support by caregiver community outreach teams. These caregiver-focused community outreach teams will support caregivers in self-care through health and wellness activities, stress management and future planning. Caregivers will also be directed to support groups and counselling services where needed.
Based on data reported by service providers, in 2019, there were about 12,700 workers employed by Long-Term Care (LTC) providers who received subvention from MOH. This is a 67% increase compared to 2014 when there were about 7,600 workers in the LTC sector.
To meet the growing demand for manpower in the healthcare sector, we have increased local training places, in particular for nursing. The local nursing intake increased by about 50% from 1,500 in 2014 to 2,200 in 2019. AIC has also been working with LTC providers and recruitment partners like Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to facilitate employment of individuals and raise awareness of job opportunities in the LTC sector. These efforts, which commenced since 2017 as part of a suite of employment facilitation initiatives, have resulted in about more than 3,400 locals joining the Intermediate and Long Term Care sector from 2017 to 2019. LTC providers can also tap on employment facilitation schemes such as AIC’s Senior Management Associate Scheme (SMAS) to hire mid-career locals for leadership or managerial roles within their organisation.