Budget debate: Mental health services extended to other S'pore hospitals

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SINGAPORE - Those with mental health conditions will be able to get help at more locations islandwide, Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said in Parliament on Wednesday (March 9).

Speaking at the debate on his ministry's budget, he announced that the National Addictions Management Service (Nams), currently based in 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 multi-disciplinary teams providing inpatient and outpatient services for patients with addiction issues.

More details on these services will be provided when ready.

Both hospitals will also be able to treat patients who have medical co-morbidities or complications.

Services at Nams are also being reviewed to address changing patient needs and emergent trends, such as Internet and gaming addictions.

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

"Planning has started to future-proof more 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 redeveloped Alexandra Hospital.

The hospital will have inpatient beds for acute and sub-acute psychiatric care and rehabilitation, and offer medical psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry as well as psychogeriatrics to those in the west of Singapore.

These services will complement those that are being offered at IMH.

Dr Janil said: "Mental healthcare services need to be more accessible and delivered in many settings, other than in 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 centres will increase the outreach of mental healthcare and improve the care of patients and the support to families."

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