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Gout, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis B to covered under Chronic Disease Management Programme

Gout, allergic rhinitis, chronic hepatitis B to covered under Chronic Disease Management Programme

People with allergic rhinitis tend to experience nasal itch and sneezing fits. (Photo: Shutterstock)

SINGAPORE: Gout, allergic rhinitis and chronic hepatitis B will be added to the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) from Jul 1 this year, Senior Minister of State for Health Koh Poh Koon said in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 9).

More than 134,000 individuals will benefit as they can now use their MediSave and Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidies for these conditions, he said during the Ministry of Health (MOH) Committee of Supply debate.

The number of approved chronic conditions under CDMP will be 23 with the new additions, MOH said separately in a press release. Other covered conditions include hypertension, anxiety and dementia.

With the expansion, more than 60 per cent of chronic attendances at polyclinics would be covered under CDMP, MOH said.

“MOH will continually review the list of conditions covered under CDMP to better meet the needs of Singaporeans,” it added.

NEW POLYCLINIC IN TAMAN JURONG

A new polyclinic will open in Taman Jurong by 2028, MOH said.

Together with Pioneer and Jurong polyclinics, the new polyclinic will cater to residents in the Jurong planning region, MOH said.

Queenstown Polyclinic will also be redeveloped at a new site by the end of the decade. Until then, the existing polyclinic will continue serving residents in the vicinity.

The Taman Jurong and Queenstown polyclinics will provide primary care services such as medical treatment for acute conditions, chronic disease management, women’s and children’s health services, allied health services, as well as radiological, laboratory and pharmacy services.

Both will incorporate elderly-friendly and accessibility features, as well as new “pandemic-ready” requirements, MOH said, adding that more details will be announced when ready.

“Currently, there are 23 polyclinics, and our target of 32 polyclinics will be achieved after consolidating Bukit Merah Polyclinic and Outram Polyclinic into a larger new polyclinic in Tiong Bahru by 2030,” the ministry added.

Other polyclinics in the works are: Sembawang Polyclinic, which will open later this year; six polyclinics in Kaki Bukit, Khatib, Serangoon, Tampines North, Tengah and Yew Tee to be completed by 2026; three polyclinics in Bidadari, Bishan and Taman Jurong to be completed by 2030. 

The Pasir Ris and Clementi polyclinics will also be redeveloped by 2026 and 2027 respectively.

MORE SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

To provide better support for people experiencing mental health crises, the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) piloted the Crisis Response Team (CRT) to respond to calls from the Singapore Police Force on suicide attempts. 

Under a pilot launched in 2020, a multi-disciplinary team conducts on-site assessments of suicidal individuals and connects them with intervention and follow-up management after the immediate crisis is resolved. 

The team picked up an average of 32 calls a month from March to October last year. Calls are picked up within 46 seconds on average, MOH said. The pilot will last until 2023.

Some youths who are hospitalised for risk of suicide or severe self-harm may require post-discharge residential care to allow for space and time to integrate back into the community in a more gradual way, said Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary in Parliament.

MOH will be developing a new intermediate residential facility to address this, he said. 

This will add another therapeutic environment for young patients and a new range of possible support services, he said, adding that further details will be provided soon.

MOH and the Agency for Integrated Care also piloted community mental health teams to provide support to those aged 12 to 25 years who are at risk of, or suspected to have, mental health conditions.

To date, four youth outreach teams and two youth integrated teams have been set up under social service agencies, MOH said.

The outreach teams raise awareness of mental health issues, and provide basic emotional support and screening to facilitate early identification and referrals of youth at risk of mental health conditions for further assessment and intervention.

Youth integrated teams, which are led by allied health professionals, provide assessment and psycho-social therapeutic interventions for youth with mental health needs.

As of December 2021, the outreach teams have spoken to more than 21,000 youths and provided support to more than 1,600 youths, while the youth integrated teams have provided interventions to more than 500 youths, MOH said.

To improve access to addictions services, the National Addictions Management Service currently based in IMH will be extended to other hospitals, including Changi General Hospital (CGH) and National University Hospital (NUH). 

Each site will have multidisciplinary teams providing inpatient and outpatient services for patients with addictions issues.

CGH and NUH will also be able to treat addictions patients with medical co-morbidities or complications and will co-manage them with other clinical specialties. Services are also being reviewed to address changing patient needs and emergent addiction trends, such as Internet and gaming addictions, MOH said. 

To “future-proof” more dedicated hospital capacity for psychiatric services beyond IMH, the National University Health System will set up psychiatric services at the redeveloped Alexandra Hospital, MOH said.

This will include inpatient beds for acute and sub-acute psychiatric care and rehabilitation, as well as services for medical psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and psychogeriatrics.

Source: CNA/ja

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