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Singapore

Mental health patients to get more support

Those suffering from mental illnesses can look forward to more healthcare services and support in the community.

SINGAPORE: Those suffering from mental illnesses can look forward to more healthcare services and support in the community.

Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor gave this update on the National Mental Health Blueprint in Parliament on Friday.

Members of Parliament were concerned and asked if there were enough mental health professionals to roll out these additional services.

Dr Khor said: "Overall, what we are trying to do is to increase and expand the intake of our medical professionals - doctors, nurses as well as allied health professionals. We are also looking into attracting more of our foreign trained Singaporean health professionals back to Singapore. In addition, in the short to medium term, I think we will need to continue to augment this with a foreign workforce."

Dr Khor also addressed concerns about a lack of financial support for those who need mental health services - for example, inadequate Medishield coverage.

She said that these patients can already turn to Medisave for outpatient treatment, for illnesses such as schizophrenia, dementia, major depression and bipolar disorder.

As for MediShield, Dr Khor said increasing the scope of coverage may mean higher premiums.

Dr Khor said: "The basis of MediShield is really to cater to acute hospitalisation cases which generally would have large bill sizes, but we continue to review our MediShield coverage. We need to note also that as we review Medishield coverage and expand the scope of coverage, what it inevitably means is an increase in MediShield premiums. We have to balance needs versus affordability."

Source: CNA/fa

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