Budget debate: mental health services extended to other S’pore hospitals

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SINGAPORE – People with mental health problems will be able to get help in more places on the island, Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary told Parliament on Wednesday (March 9).

Speaking during his ministry’s budget debate, he announced that the National Addiction Management Service (Nams), currently based at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), will be extended to other hospitals.

These include Changi General Hospital and National University Hospital. Each site will have multidisciplinary teams providing inpatient and outpatient services to patients with substance abuse issues.

More details on these services will be provided when they are ready.

The two hospitals will also be able to treat patients with comorbidities or medical complications.

Nams services are also being reviewed to meet changing patient needs and emerging trends, such as internet and gaming addictions.

Dr Janil also noted that during the Covid-19 pandemic there has been an increase in demand for mental health services.

“Planning has begun to ensure greater hospital capacity for psychiatric services beyond the Institute of Mental Health, our main psychiatric hospital,” he said.

The National University Health System will set up psychiatric services at the refurbished Alexandra Hospital.

The hospital will have inpatient beds for acute and subacute psychiatric care and rehabilitation, and will offer medical psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychogeriatrics to those in western Singapore.

These services will complement those offered at the IMH.

Dr Janil said: “Mental health services need to be more accessible and provided in many settings, other than the IMH, as well as integrated into the community and general medical services.

“The new unit at Alexandra Hospital and the provision of new services in other centers will increase the reach of mental health care and improve patient care and support for families.”

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